Running Time: 127 minutes
Starring: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Jena Malone, Simon Woods, Tom Hollander, Rupert Friend, and Judy Dench
We all know that the camera loves Keira Knightley, just like Michelle Pfeiffer. But Keira’s not just a pretty face. “She worked like a dog,” then first-time director, Joe Wright, says on the fun/informative commentary track of the DVD. Wright’s version of the P&P story (that many know and love) is a must-see! (When I saw it in the theater, I wasn’t very impressed. I think it takes a second look to appreciate all that’s going on under the surface.)
The Bennet parents are humanized by Blethyn and Sutherland. Pike is the perfect Jane. Malone (who’s American like Sutherland) does a terrific British accent and plays the flighty Lydia w/ gusto. The adorable Carey Mulligan makes her film debut as Kitty.
I think looking at it now, Darcy would seem much more snobbish in our understanding of the word than he would then. To somebody like Darcy, it would have been a big deal for him to get over this difference in their status, and to be able to say to Lizzie that he loved her. –Matthew Macfadyen
Macfadyen (a theatrically-trained actor) is a terrific Mr. Darcy- tall, slim, subtle, and not too much of a pretty boy. He looks posh and elegant in all the costumes, but never overly imposing. Darcy’s feelings are reigned in tightly, but his eyes are expressive. And don’t forget that voice– one of the most gorgeous in all of show business!
“They just fancy each other,” Wright comments, noting the deep physical attraction between Lizzie and Darcy. When she follows Jane to Netherfield Hall on foot, Lizzie’s hair gets mussed and her hem gets muddy. Darcy is shocked, like best pal Bingley and his sis Caroline, but also intrigued. He has never met a woman like her before!
When Jane gets over her bad cold, and she and Lizzie have to leave, Darcy helps Lizzie onto the carriage. This is the first time they touch, and he’s very affected by it.
For the Netherfield ball, Lizzie makes a special effort to look cute, hoping to meet the dashing Wickham. To her surprise, Darcy asks her to dance! This dance sequence is one of the best moments of the film. (Dances were very important in Austen’s time; it was one of the few times young, single people could meet, chat, and hold hands.)
This film was almost entirely shot on location- in Derbyshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, etc. Pemberly in this version is actually the house of the Duchess of Devonshire. (Interestingly, Keira played the role of Georgiana in The Duchess in 2008.)
We can’t overlook the rainy scene! Toward the end, Darcy leans in close and almost kisses Lizzie. Wow…
Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R-Zg5es7mg