Pride & Prejudice (2005)

The last in a decade-long cycle of Jane Austen adaptations, Joe Wright’s feature debut brought a new verve and style to the British costume drama.

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Introduction

“Jane Austen adaptations used to be marked by Sunday afternoonish reverence. Here we have appropriately youthful stars and a supposedly ‘realist’ portrayal of Regency England as gritty and grungy.”
Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide

Scripted by novelist Deborah Moggach, this adaptation of Jane Austen’s witty novel about manners and marriage sees Keira Knightley’s headstrong Elizabeth Bennet becoming attracted to a man she dislikes, the lugubrious Mr Darcy (played by Matthew Macfadyen). She must get over her misapprehensions and realise his true worth before they can acknowledge their love for each other.

In the hands of Joe Wright, making the debut that lauched his feature-directing career, there’s less comedy – apart from Tom Hollander’s scene-stealing performance as the unctuous Mr Collins – and more romance, but above all a terrific sense of energy, as the roving camera brings a sense of hectic life to the ball and party scenes. Future star Carey Mulligan made her feature debut as Elizabeth’s younger sister Kitty.

Other screen versions of Austen’s novel include the 1940 MGM version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, and a Bollywood-style musical, Bride & Prejudice (2004).

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