Film of the book: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (2005)

An elegant and light-hearted adaptation of Jane Austen’s much-loved novel. Directed by Joe Wright with a screenplay by Deborah Moggach and a lovely score by Dario Marianelli, it’s a gorgeous-looking film, worth watching at least once but not nearly as good as the 1995 TV adaptation.

If you know the book well, then this film seems to condense the story too much, over-emphasising the repressed romance between Lizzy Bennet and Mr Darcy and getting rid of minor characters such as Mrs Hurst, Denny and Maria Lucas. The settings are altered for many of the scenes. Although some dialogue is taken from the original text, a lot of it is new and too modern for the era represented (late 18th century). A few of the characters are changed too. Lizzy is more giggly, Georgiana Darcy less reserved, Mary Bennet less grim, Mr Collins less obnoxious, Mr Bingley more bumbling, than their book counterparts. I do like the cast – particularly Matthew Mcfadyen, Brenda Blethyn and Claudie Blakley – who seem to very consciously be trying not to emulate their predecessors from the TV series. This results in more understated performances, with the exception of Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Lizzy. I just felt she was a bit over-acted.

Perhaps the film is best enjoyed by those who are not very familiar with Austen’s books and would rather watch adaptations than read the originals. I don’t mean this in a harsh way, but this particular film is Austen-lite, the social commentary stripped out, the romance pumped up. It’s nice to watch, yet doesn’t have much substance. It’s a good enough substitute for the book if you only want the basic story.

Low-resolution image sourced from Wikipedia.

See also my other reviews of Austen adaptations: Emma and Persuasion.

10 thoughts on “Film of the book: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (2005)”

    1. Definitely the 1995 TV adaptation! There isn’t anything I can fault. It’s an excellent adaptation of the book, while adding a little more romances.

    1. While I don’t share your strong feelings against Keira, I felt that she just wasn’t right for the role, didn’t play it to do the character justice, or both. However, even with a different actress this film would have the same problem, that it sort of skims over the story. Thanks for your comment!

    1. Yes! Agreed. I think also a film format can’t quite explore the book like a series can.

  1. I didn’t mind Kiera Knightley in this role, although so many people say the 1995 version is the best. I’ve not seen that version, but you’ve reminded me to check it out.

    1. I think if you’ve seen the 1995 version first then the 2005 one will always seem lacking in some way πŸ™‚

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