Friday, October 14, 2011

Pride & Prejudice (1995)

In this lavish adaptation of Jane Austen's classical romance, Elizabeth Bennett is a strong-willed yet sensible young woman whose father is a gentleman with a quite modest estate and whose uncle suffers in status from being a businessman in Cheapside. She has four sisters, a long-suffering but loving father, and a mother anxious to marry them to wealthy young gentlemen. At a local ball, she encounters one such wealthy young man, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy -- and as Mr. Darcy is arrogant, cold and rude, it is hatred at first sight. As her older sister Jane falls in love with Mr. Darcy's best friend Mr. Bingley, and her youngest sister Lydia flirts with anyone in a military uniform, Lizzie finds herself fighting off the attentions of the unctuous Mr. Collins and quite taken by the charming Mr. Wickham - who also happens to be an enemy of Mr. Darcy. However, as the characters succumb in many ways to pride and prejudice, Lizzie learns that not all is quite as it seems...and that Mr. Darcy might not be so disagreeable after all.
For years I have been hearing how wonderful Colin Firth is as Mr. Darcy. I have had the chance to watch this mini-series several times, but never dedicated the time to it. When we decided to do this week, though, I jumped at the chance to finally see what all the fuss was about. While searching for a plot summary I found you can actually watch the mini-series on YouTube. I had seen the Keira Knightley movie several times. My sister loves it and probably can quote it word for word. It's rather obvious that Knghtley had seen this mini-series. You can see many of Jennifer Ehle's movements and speech patterns adopted.

I think Jennifer Ehle did a wonderful job playing Elizabeth. She acted a lot like I would have pictured her back when I was reading the book. I thought she took way too many walks in this mini-series, though. I know it was expected to give a scene of her need to behave differently from others, but in the beginning I was worried those dull scenes were going to take away from the overall mini-series. It didn't work out that way at all. I found the mini-series got better as it went along and I enjoyed watching it. I also agree with the assessment that Colin Firth makes a very good Mr. Darcy. He is moody and anti-social to a tee. As you start to get used to him, you will definitely be hoping that they wind up together. Not to mention hoping that Jane Bennet ends up with Mr. Bingley. That romance has just as many unfortunate pitfalls as Elizabeth's, but those two at least admit they care about each other.

I enjoyed the other characters, too. Mrs. Bennet was sufficiently hard on the head. After just reading an imagined story of how the couple came to be; I still find it hard to believe they are the same people. She started out so quiet. Now her voice rather grates on the nerves. Mr. Bennet is played really well, too. He is bookish and comical when it comes to his daughters. I rather enjoyed those moments. All of the sisters were believable, too. Lydia was, well, Lydia. Mary was the scholar. Kitty was Lydia's shadow. And even when you knew that Wickham was going to turn out to be bad, you couldn't help liking him along with Elizabeth in the beginning.

I think for a book to mini-series adaptation, this was done really well. The cast were all believable, the story stayed very close to the book, and the time period really came alive. I have no major complaints with the mini-series and hope to watch it many more times in the future. If you are slow to see it like I was, I do recommend it. I am not a huge Austen fan and not a big fan of romances in general, but this is worth checking out.


  1. Of all the P&P adaptions to film I have seen (and I believe I have seen them all (-; ). I found this the most faithful to the book.
    Thanks for the posting!

  2. This is definitely my favourite P&P adaptation and one of my all time favourite period dramas. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Kailana.:)

  3. I've watched it several times over! I am a fan.

  4. Like the readers before me this is my favourite P&P adaptation. I think every adaptation should be this long and faithfull to the books.

    I have yeat to see the plder versions of P&P but that more from curiosity than believing they might be better.