‘Pride & Prejudice’ (2005) (Film)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Romantic Period Drama Movie with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy

The most beloved romantic novel is now a most beloved romantic movie!

‘Pride & Prejudice’ is one of Jane Austen’s best and well-known novels in English romantic literature. In 2005, ‘Pride & Prejudice’ became a movie, starring Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy. I have vivid and fond memories seeing this movie at the cinemas!

Up until that point, the most popular adaptation of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ was the 1995 BBC TV serial, starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. I did see the TV serial first before seeing the 2005 film at the cinemas. So I knew the story already, even if I hadn’t the book at all, especially not at school which is shame.

I went to see the movie of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ at the cinemas with my parents in September 2005. I recall seeing a preview of this new movie in a magazine when my parents and I visited the Jane Austen Centre in Bath and I read a news article of it when I was at sixth-form college.

If you know the story of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ already, you shouldn’t have a problem with seeing this movie about the love story between Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy. If you don’t, then you don’t need to read the book. Just enjoy the film, or even better enjoy both the BBC TV serial and the 2005 film.

‘Pride & Prejudice’ is a story set in 18th century England about a young woman called Lizzie living her with her mother and father and her four sisters. The news of a new wealthy bachelor moving into Netherfield causes great excitement for the family and everyone else as they want to meet him.

They soon meet Mr. Bingley, along with his friend Mr. Darcy at a private ball. Bingley is a cheerful person, whilst Darcy is miserable and unsociable. Lizzie’s eldest sister Jane easily falls for Mr. Bingley who likes her as well. But will Lizzie see through Mr. Darcy’s cold exterior and ever fall for him also?

This movie got me interested, since Kiera Knightley was playing Lizzie Bennet in it. Kiera is well-known for starring in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films with Johnny Deep. It was interesting to see her play a well-known character in a Jane Austen story as well as to appear in a period romantic drama.

These period dramas are very well-made, especially when they’re based on the Jane Austen novels for movies. The director Joe Wright delivers a stylish quality to this Jane Austen movie with the camerawork; setting of scenes and casting of characters. It makes the movie very beautiful to see.

The themes and spirit of Jane Austen’s original novel of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ shine through this movie. I enjoyed the period setting and how the themes of love; manners; prejudice and 18th-century values are addressed in this. Period dramas provide lovely history lessons for the uninitiated.

Also the humour of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ shines throughout this movie. The family relationships with the Bennets are very believable and it captures the spirit of the novel by Jane Austen in the movie. Both the drama and the comedy work well, and the romantic aspects of the story are well portrayed.

I also enjoyed the dance sequences featured in the film. It was interesting to see the difference between the private ball dance scenes and the public ball ones. The private ball dances are livelier and energetic whereas the public ball dances are elegant and refined to the music that gets played.

Kiera Knightley delivers a brilliant performance as Elizabeth Bennet. She delivers the sex appeal certainly in the character as well as feistiness of the character. But it’s well-balanced to how Lizzie was written from the original novel by Jane Austen. I enjoyed how Kiera seems honest as Lizzie here.

Matthew Macfadyen is equally brilliant as Mr. Darcy. Matthew was an unknown actor at this stage in his career, so it’s good to see him in such a well-known role. Like Kiera, Matthew portrays an honest interpretation of Mr. Darcy as I like how he balances from being cold and dashing at the same time.

The rest of the cast are equally superb and it was amazing how I recognised so many faces from previous TV shows and films over the years. The actors and actresses playing the Bennets; Mr. Collins; Mr. Bingley; Wickham; Lady Catherine de Bourgh deliver believable performances in the film.

Brenda Blethyn is wonderful as Mrs. Bennet, the mother of the Bennet family. Mrs. Bennet is a comic character, but is also a loving mother and I like how Brenda balances the comedy and drama of the character in this film. I preferred her version of Mrs. Bennet compared to the BBC TV version.

Donald Sutherland is also very good as Mr. Bennet, the father of the Bennet family. Mr. Bennet is the long-suffering husband of Mrs. Bennet, but he’s clearly devoted to her and loves his daughters, especially Lizzie. I liked those moments when Mr. Bennet can be very wise as well as being so funny.

The rest of the Bennets also include Rosamund Pike (who I first saw in a BBC version of ‘Wives & Daughters’) as Jane Bennet, the eldest of the five daughters. She’s very pretty as Jane and it’s easy to see why Mr. Bingley would fall for her. I liked the sister relationship between Jane and Lizzie in this.

There’s also Carey Mulligan as Kitty Bennet, who also starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode, ‘Blink’. There’s also Jena Malone as Lydia Bennet, the youngest of the Bennets and Talulah Riley as Mary Bennett, who later appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘Silence in the Library’/’Forest of the Dead’.

Tom Hollander stars as Mr. Collins in this movie (who I also saw in the BBC version of ‘Wives & Daughters’). I found Tom Hollander’s version of Mr. Collins very funny to see, especially when he proposes to Lizzie. I sometimes felt sorry for Mr. Collins, especially when he was rejected by Lizzie.

There’s also Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. I preferred Judi’s performance as Lady Catherine compared to the BBC version. She’s calmer and quieter, especially when she gets enraged or disapproving about something with Lizzie, especially when confronting her regarding Mr. Darcy.

Simon Woods stars as Mr. Bingley. Meaning no disrespect to the actor, but I found Mr. Bingley a little dopey in this film compared to the BBC version. There’s also Tamzin as Georgiana Darcy and there’s Claudie Blakley (who later starred in the BBC’s ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’) as Charlotte Lucas.

There’s also Kelly Reilly as Caroline Bingley, Mr. Bingley’s sister; Rupert Friend as Mr. Wickham; and Cornelius Booth as Colonel Fitzwilliam. And there’s Penelope Wilton (who I’ve seen in many things like ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ and ‘Doctor Who’) as Mrs. Gardiner and Peter Wright as Mr. Gardiner.

The location work for this ‘Pride & Prejudice’ movie is impressive. The stately homes visited in this movie are very good, as many are actual stately homes in England. Groombridge Place in Kent starred as Longbourn, the Bennets’ House and Basildon Park in Berkshire starred as Netherfield Park, Bingley’s home.

Chatsworth House in Derbyshire and Wilton House in Salisbury starred as Pemberley House, Darcy’s home in the film. My parents and I have visited Chatsworth House in Derby on holiday before it starred in this film. My parents and I visited Chatsworth House again on holiday after seeing the film.

As ever with these period dramas, the costume design for ‘Pride & Prejudice’ is equally impressive as well as the sets and the locations. I also liked the music composed by Dario Marianelli in the film, as he provides a very familiar pianoforte signature piece throughout as it plays over again in various forms.

However, despite the movie looking so glamorous and seemingly faithful to the original work by Jane Austen, there are some inaccuracies I’d like to point out from the book to the film. Firstly, I found it very odd when Darcy proposes to Lizzie for the first time and it’s done when it’s heavily raining under shelter.

Secondly, when Darcy delivers a letter to Lizzie about the circumstances of him and Wickham and Bingley and her sister Jane was odd. He delivers it to her at night and she’s in her nightclothes. This seemed strange as it wouldn’t have matched to what was originally written by Jane Austen herself.

Thirdly, it was strange when Lady Catherine visits and confronts Lizzie at her home at night instead of the daytime. The BBC version had Lady Catherine confront Lizzie about Mr. Darcy in the daytime, so I assume it’s in the book too. I know it’s meant to be dramatic, but I don’t think it was in the book.

Despite these inconsistencies, I must say I’m very grateful that the film didn’t show Mr. Darcy diving into a river and swimming before meeting Lizzie at Pemberley, as Colin Firth did in the BBC version. I found that scene rather strange and I’m sure it wasn’t in the book, so thankfully it isn’t in this movie.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s ‘The Politics of Dating’; ‘The Stately Homes of Pride & Prejudice’; ‘The Bennets’; ‘The Life and Times of Jane Austen’; on set diaries; a commentary with director Joe Wright; galleries of the 19th century; and there’s also the ‘Pride & Prejudice Family Tree’.

There’s also an alternate US ending, which is in fact a deleted scene containing a romantic scene between Lizzie and Darcy where Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen kiss each other. Why it wasn’t shown in the UK theatrical cut of the movie I don’t know. There’s also a trailer for ‘Nanny McPhee’.

pride & prejudice poster

The 2005 ‘Pride & Prejudice’ film is a wonderful adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved book. Kiera Knightley stands out as Lizzie Bennet as well as Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy. This is a very popular movie version of Jane Austen’s book. I remember this vividly from seeing it at the cinemas!

‘Pride & Prejudice’ (2005) rating – 9/10

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