As many of you may know – I accept challenges.
If I reach certain amounts of subscribers on my blog, I will complete that challenge.
A month or so ago, I decided to watch the much lauded Pride and Prejudice (as well as reviewing it) after reaching 50 followers.
Well, I have reached 54 subscribers on my blog and I watched the BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice.
And now it’s time to share my honest review.
I promised an in-depth review and an in-depth review you shall get (don’t say I didn’t warn you and don’t beat me up).
Now – go ahead and scroll down while I put on my crash helmet.
The Acting / Characters.
Probably my favorite part about the whole movie – I really loved this actress.
Her stylish, elegant way of cutting off somebody at the knees, and regal disdain to idiocy and cattiness – love it. She rises above it – then grinds it under her heel. #kindarelates
I’m not saying that Lizzie was a shrew by any means – quite the opposite – she was merey surrounded by insufferable characters. An intelligent person drowning in a society of stupidity.
I like how Lizzie uses humor as a safety value and a coping mechanism and that is something that I can really relate to.
Jennifer Ehle’s acting is probably my favorite part of the movie. Her secret smile intrigues the watcher. Her delivery and personality possess an undeniable sang froid – passionate but controlled. All of her acting is superb and spot-on. Her unique delivery and characteriation was mostly what kept me watching.
For the first few episodes, Collin Firth didn’t have much to do other then give smoldering looks past the camera. And while he did that with better success than most, I was more than ready for him to start speaking by episode 3 or so when he starts to show more character. Secondly, Mr. Darcy seems to be that breed of male character that populated books at this time (Gilbert Blythe is another character that comes to mind) where the male MC exists to jump out at the girl from bushes and closets and never seems to have any kind of life or anything to do outside of his pursuit of the main girl. I believe the modern term for this is ‘stalker’.
Based on my memories of Mr. Darcy, and all the common knowledge I have picked up through osmosis – I don’t think there could have been a better person to play him than Colin Firth. Aside from looking right for the part, having the right voice, Colin Firth captures the moody pride, the turbulent thoughts and the hidden nobility that make up Mr. Darcy. So ultimately – yes – a thumbs up for Mr. Darcy and Colin Firth – I liked them both.
I was a little confused by Mr. Darcy’s transformation – it seemed a little abrupt. He was so RUDE in the beginning and in actuality he was really nice . . .? I felt like the guy had dual personalites. I just felt that the two parts of him weren’t blended as smoothly as they could have been.
I admire Mr Bingley’s outlook on life – he always spoke kindly of people – but my goodness, was he a blank cookie. And every time that man smiled and blinked those big, beady eyes I snorted with laughter and shuddered a little as his big, blank voice boomed across the room. So, I suppose, this was good casting and very accurate to the character in the book. As I said, I admired his kindness – but his kindness was starting to slide into ‘never having an opinion about anything’ and never speaking up about anything. A little limp, in my opinion.
The character is . . . okay. Nice, but, sheesh, is she in for some major shocks in this world. Without proper supervision by wiser characters, Jane would be destined to be a victim of unscrupulous people. I appreciated how nice she was supposed to be and I always admire people or characters that speak and think the best of others – but her absolute refusal to acknowledge evil behavior – to acknowledge that there are evil people in this world that do evil things – seemed to be pushing it too far. As if by the power of thinking nice – everybody will be nice.
That’s not how it works.
I think it might have come off better if they had had a different actress – instead of being sweet and mild, this actress looked more like she was falling asleep for the whole movie and produced a bland performance. Plus, I hate to say it, they kept saying she was the most beautiful sister, but I thought that Jennifer Ehle was more attractive.
The actor did a pretty good portraying a fairly likeable character at the off-set (or maybe that was just because I was comparing him to the guy who didn’t speak at the time, i.e. Mr. Darcy) and slowly letting us realize that he is a TrainWrecker of Lives. We become gradually aware that he has the most shallow charisma and is a pathetically hollow person.
A pretty good cautionary tale for girls here. Just because the guy walks the walk and talks the talk doesn’t mean he is a good guy. It takes a while to get to know someone and you should look vigilantly for inconsistencies (which were present in Mr. Wickham from the very beginning) – and flee screaming from men (or people) like this.
Well, there are women and girls like this in this world. Shallow, man-crazy, moralless simpletons – so, again, a cautionary tale.
Don’t be like this and don’t associate with people like this.
Julia Sawalha plays her alarmingly well, but has an interesting voice and just enough appeal to give us the faintest inkling for why someone hasn’t taken her for a long, long, walk in the woods . . . . near a cliff.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a more repulsive performance than this guy.
I was having shudders on top of my shudders. I really felt the portrayal here was TOO MUCH. Talk about overboard. And was anybody else annoyed that this slimy creature was a vicar? While I while admit that historically men of the Church of England at this time might have decided on this career choice for the pay and position rather than any faith in Christ – it was ANNOYING to see the character that was supposed to be the moral example for everyone else in the room be the most disgusting character on screen.
I rather liked the actress – especially her crisp no-nonsense delivery, even if she was playing a rather pitiful character. I suppose we are supposed to feel sorry for Charlotte’s desperation, her grasping at straws named Collins, and her (supposed?) lack of advantages. And since the actress was rather likable they did succeed in making me feel sorry for her.
The Other Sisters
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Little joke there – because Mary and Kitty were basically place holders, background filler. Every story requires cardboard cutout characters and these two girls were it. The thing that annoyed me the most was that the character that seeks to edify their character with study and controlled living (Mary) is portrayed as an ugly, boring twit.
Well cast – if I remember the book correctly.
If I were Mr. Bennett – I would throw myself off the roof.
No further, comment.
Bucking for “Most Despicable Character In Pride and Prejudice” – Mr. Bennett defined “failure as a father” in my mind. He has obviously let the girls do whatever they want without any concern about shaping their character. It’s like he presumes girls are born silly and never had any intention of getting involved in their upbringing.
The father doesn’t care about his daughter’s wild behavior, in fact, he wants to Lydia to get it out of her system and go ahead and make a fool of herself and disgrace herself and get it over with as long as it comes at little cost to himself.
He shows the most casual attitude towards his daughters disgraceful behavior throughout the movie and hardly blinks an eye when his youngest runs off to a life of sin with Wickham.
If somebody had done this to one of my Dad’s daughters (God forbid that we would ever be foolish enough to do that in the first place) my Dad would rip Wickham limb from limb.
Aside from being totally disinterested in his daughters (and obviously wanting a son instead of daughters, judging from the way he regards and chats with the more practical Lizzie) Mr. Bennett makes various unflattering and terrible comments about women throughout the movie.
He was a pathetic, miserable excuse for a father and is definitely the unsung villain of this story.
Okay, necessary – but nothing really special in my mind – as far as acting or character. Just…whatever.
That Random Guy That Snored Drunkenly In Corners And Crammed Food In His Mouth.
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Welcome comic relief.
The Script / Story
I did ‘get’ the story more this time around.
Either my comprehension has improved slightly, this sort of dialogue is either easier to grasp in a movie form, or the dialogue was slightly rewritten and clipped down (if memory serves me right, I think this is the case) – but in whatever event, I found the dialogue flowed fairly well and I was able to follow the long-winded ‘paragraphs’ much more than the book. I even enjoyed it to a certain extent.
The ‘language’ and vocabulary is good and soothes my sensibilities when I am watching or reading something that is rather insipid, for at least I feel that I am learning something. “ducks”
Which brings me to the story.
I actually enjoyed the story more in a film format – it flowed, it made sense, things built up naturally, it was an interesting character study. The arc these two characters went through (Darcy and Elizabeth) was very real in the fact that human beings can often have grossly inaccurate assumptions and ideas about one another and it’s always interesting to see human beings go through mental or emotional changes and metamorphosis. But it was hard for me to really like or enjoy this story for several reasons which I will delve into further on.
I liked it. Rejoice all ye peoples – Allison liked the romance!
Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth definitely had chemistry but, apparently, that wasn’t even acting – since the two actors were interested in each other in real life – so I don’t necessarily attribute this to skill. Nevertheless, it was good. Now I’m not necessarily enthused about it. More on that later.
Technical and Artistic Aspects
I thing that these costumes (this time period of historical dress) are some of the most unflattering gowns ever designed. At least the women’s costumes – they are pretty dreadful – although the actresses manage to pull them off. The men’s costumes were all right, though my eyes bugged out at some of the colors (that green coat of Darcy’s!) or patterns.
The music was okay for the most part but at times some of the main cues could be rather annoying. The repetitive piano tinkling does not always match the action on the screen.
The editing is rather choppy and I feel that a lot of random scenes could have been cut.
It is fairly well shot – memory is starting to blur but I remember some rather nice decisions with the cinematography involving sweeping shots from room to room and so on.
Nice opening credits; I spent some time wondering about the exquisite embroidery featured in them.
The relationship between Elisabeth and Jane was nice; I have a weakness for movies that showcase sister relationships.
P&P is rife with Gif material.
And now . . . moving on to the stickier territory.
– The Culture –
The sallow, petty, marriage-based culture is horrifying to me.
Rather sad that our marriage culture has not changed – Christians have built up a culture that views everyone as “marriage material” instead of just a human being.
Most girls look at Pride and Prejudice and see a fairyland – I see a prison. I see women in cages and on leashes, trapped and being told that the only option in life is to marry – and marry anything – to not do so – would be a fate worse than death. Even if the man is the most repulsive creature on the planet.
Seeing women with so little identity and so anxious to be claimed in matrimony is awful. Discontent and lack of self-worth is one of the most unattractive qualities you can have in a woman, I think.
Take Away Value.
This movie made me extremely, intensely grateful tolive in the twenty first century. Obviously, there are abuses with this freedom, but just because there are abuses doesn’t make it any less freeing to those who responsibly use it.
I am blessed to live in a country and a time when women don’t have to be valued chiefly by whatever man she is attached to. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father and brother and may God grant that I have the privilege of being with them for as long as possible – but if I were alone – I would not be belittled or beleaguered unless I chose to live a belittled and beleaguered life.
80 percent of the things I do on a day to day basis would not be allowed in Jane Austen’s time period. Making sales calls, moving furniture . . .
I am free to do anything and be anything I chose, within reason.
I can take pride in having a job and not be ashamed that I work.
I can appreciate honest labor instead of belittling it and being envious of a higher class.
Yes, indeed – Pride and Prejudice made me very, very grateful to be living in the 21st Century.
Just when I start to get discouraged by our godless culture, I can watch something like this and remind myself that the godless have always been among us, there’s no escaping it.
Reading this as a fifteen year old, I was disgusted at the loose morals portrayed in this book.
Allow me to compare this to Louisa May Alcott – the American equivalent of Jane Austen – who built her works on the moral right and wrong that generously infused much of our old literature, thanks to America’s Puritan background. Life had a purpose, events had object lessons, singlehood was not something to be despised, the greatest good to live for others, and that there is Someone greater than ourselves (or Mr Darcy) to turn to.
When Meg March gets drunk at a party – characters (both male and female) are scandalized. The good characters, the heroes (the only ones we care about), are shocked and disgusted. And the summarization is that losing the ‘regard’ of crass people is not a loss at all – it is more important to keep your own self respect and the respect of decent people who love you and whom you love.
Whereas in Pride and Prejudice as long as it is acceptable by the culture at large, the behavior is acceptable. Something is only judged unacceptable if the culture rejects it. So since the culture consists largely of idiotic and godless people – idiotic and godless behavior is accepted. The younger girls are constantly romping in a scandalous manner with any male that walks onto the screen. They don’t know when to stop flirting – and take it to far. When they do this – most of the other characters look on with rather indulgent smiles. Mr. Darcy was absolutely CORRECT in thinking that the Bennetts are not decent people to associate with and far beneath his class of LIVING. There are ‘different classes’ of people, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. I’m not talking wealthy and the modest income – I’m talking classes of behavior – moral classes.
When Lizzie finally does realize that Lydia is making the Bennett name a bad one – she seems a little more worried about ‘what people will think’ – then the fact that Lydia is on the downward path to you-know-where. When Lizzie confesses her fears about Wickham to her father he doesn’t really care – he DOESN’T CARE and no one warns anyone about Wickham’s behavior because, heaven forbid, that we should speak ill of an OFFICER! (as if the characters haven’t been gossiping all through-out the movie, so why stop now?).
Lizzie was a fool not to warn her sisters about Wickham (although, unfortunately – her sisters wouldn’t have paid her attention anyway because they’re fools too).
When Lydia does get in trouble with Wickham the emphasis is still on ‘what people will think’ – and granted there is a reasonable disgrace in association but still – no one seems to think: “Hmm – maybe we could have averted this or could avert this in the future?” Mr. Bennett’s solution is to never let his girls out again.
Mmhmm – and when did total abstinence ever keep anyone from sinning? He’s willing enough to go the easy route and institute physical rules on his daughters (although he’s such a pushover he probably wouldn’t hold his ground long) but he has no concern over his daughters heart issues or their souls.
When Wickham and Lydia show their faces at the Bennett’s home the Bennett’s welcome them cordially and seem to sweep everything under the rug. As long as everything is ‘proper’ now – there’s no hard feelings and Wickham really can’t be such a bad egg after all.
it’s all fun and games until somebody thinks it’s not proper THEN we get some action – where it’s the right or wrong action is totally debatable.
What Was It Trying To Say?
I have been informed—and realize—thatJane Austen wrote the book as a social commentary (though I still maintain that she seemed to suggest that the reason you shouldn’t have lose morals is simply because it “wasn’t done” not for Christian moral reasons). It was almost a cautionary tale. Don’t throw yourself at the first available guy and that you should also marry an equal and have a meeting of the minds – not just physical attraction.
Oddly enough, everyone that watches the movie seem to go away thinking of nothing BUT the romance. Instead of watching a social commentary, the modern audience watches it as a straight-up romance and walk away squealing: “I love Mr. Darcy.” instead of actually thinking about what Jane Austen seemed to be trying to say. They get sentimental over the romance and ignore the moral message.
The filmmakers themselves seemed to have forgotten any deeper meaning to Pride and Prejudice and inserted scene after seen to ratchet up the physical attraction between Darcy and Elizabeth. The sensual push was ridiculous – considering that the whole theme and point of the story was supposed to be about Elizabeth and Darcy being equals – not just attracted to one another.
I am very sensitive to body language, and I also noted that Colin Firth himself seems to be intently focused on being as provocative as possible to the viewers. So to love Mr. Darcy – seems to be due to suggestion rather than his actual character. Girls walk away holding Mr. Darcy as the ideal man. The whole POINT of Mr. Darcy the REASON why he is so famous is because he is a FLAWED character. It seems strange that girls would hold him as such the idealized man. Again, I think what is really coming into play here is Colin Firth’s provocative performance.
I really resent this subtle play on women’s emotions – and am annoyed at the way filmmakers are building emotional and sensory based pits like this for female viewers to fall into time after time.
I’m not say this is true for every female viewer – I know several very pragmatic viewers of Pride and Prejudice who identified and appreciated the deeper theme – but this is just a reaction that, overall, Pride and Prejudice seems to produce.
I sort of enjoyed Pride and Prejudice – but just because you enjoy something – doesn’t mean that it is edifying – or that pleasure is synonymous with permission.
Pride and Prejudice touches a little vein of self-satisfaction because it is such a classic so there is a lot of pressure and a real urge to like it . . . and a certain kind of gratification when you do. But is it really edifying?
I would have to say – no, not really.
Like whipped cream—it is calories without nutrition.
Do I read fluff? ABSOLUTELY. All I’m saying is that this particular kind of fluff I wouldn’t recommend as a steady diet of for ladies. Just like as an adult I have finally learned that I can’t eat a lot of sweets without getting sick – I know that I would do equally poorly on a diet of romance or Jane Austen.
Pride and Prejudice dwells on the loose morals of decayed minds without any real solution or consequences to those morals (not when we have Mr. Darcy’s to conveniently save the day). Pride and Prejudice is about a silly group of people making silly mistakes.
True to life? A good cautionary tale? Yes. But I can think of better and more edifying books and movies that do the same thing.
People might argue that Pride and Prejudice is an important way to study society.
A history book would tell you more.
People might tell you Pride and Prejudice is a classic. Well, smoking is a classic thing to do, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to take up smoking. And believe me, romance stories can be just as addictive to women.
It is really more the feelings that Pride and Prejudice evokes that I am ‘against’.
I like a nice, well-done romance as much as the next girl – but there is something about this kind of romance that strikes a giddy chord in women – and I don’t think it’s very edifying to strike that chord. It puts our thinking on a silly train of thought and it is hard to derail that train of giddy thinking once we have shoveled coal into its engine.
Most viewers would prefer to simply be swept along on the tide of their emotions and enjoy the flood – “Oh, we’re women, we’re supposed to be emotional.” Absolutely, but: “Our biblically enlightened minds should control our emotions.” Out-of-control emotions are my worst enemy and have gotten me into more scrapes than the rest of me put together. I prefer reason and a will daily surrendered to God to control my emotions. My emotions will betray me if I don’t keep an ironclad hold on them. And by abstinence from overly romantic stories (and I mean HIGHLY idealized stories that have nothing to do with reality) I can keep better control over my mind and emotions.
Stories have a powerful effect on us, it’s no good to say that Narnia affects us to the core and then go to Pride and Prejudice and pretend it doesn’t effect as just as deeply. The question is, does the story it affect us positively?
Pride and Prejudice is basically a fairy tale, but a fairy tale stripped of its moral backbone. And what do we have left when that happens to a fairy tale? A spoonful of sugar.
Sugar might taste good – and I like indulging just as much as the next person – but too much of it’s still not good for me. I may like the taste, but my throat physically starts to close up if I eat too much or have something too sweet. And that’s how your reason should work with your emotions. Your emotions might be tickled and want more, but your reason should be whispering to you and coming to your rescue.
It’s constantly watching and reading stories like this, I believe, that are one of the main fuel sources to cause young women to skip blithely towards the ULTIMATE GOAL of marriage, without even the most basic of healthy caution, but with the huge confidence that they will make it work; they will have a marriage like the one in the Garden of Eden and raise angelic children and live in a house like Pemberley.
Marriage is the most important relationship God has designed and it should be approached respectfully – it’s not something to fantasize over. It’s not a game, a vacation, or a fairy tale. It’s a 24/7 job.
So in conclusion, I believe that the same fervent restraint that health enthusiasts apply to their diet should also apply to their visual diet as well. We’ll be a healthier person in the long run. I know I probably won’t watch Pride and Prejudice again.
Content: I hadn’t realized there were objectionable scenes in this movie and was sent scrambling for the fast forward a few times. After the first two surprises I looked up a content advisory and knew when to skip for the next part. Probably most of you either know what I’m talking about or it has been edited out for you so I don’t feel the need to thrash out the details here.
There is also swearing.
And the low-cut gowns definitely keep this from being ‘Big Screen’ material – and what little gown there is on a woman is surprisingly sheer.
‘peers around cautiously’
It’s time to hear the feedback.
I don’t expect anyone to agree with me and am prepared to stand alone on these opinions.
I’m not trying to convert anyone OR condemn anyway with this post – merely sharing my thoughts in a sort of dissertation.
Next time – I’ll just eat alligator nuggets for a challenge – this type of challenge is far to controversial.
So anyway – share your thoughts!