Starring: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Rosamund Pike
Director: Joe Wright
Running Time: 129 mins
Pride And Prejudice is a British film, based on the novel by Jane Austen, about five sisters in 19th Century England, one of whom, Elizabeth Bennet, finds herself reluctantly edging towards a relationship with the dashing but proud Mr. Darcy.
I’ve never been a big fan of the original novel of Pride And Prejudice, but, given that it is such a classic story beloved by so many, I tried hard to like and enjoy the story more when watching this film. On the one hand, I think it’s a very well-laid out plot, but on the other, it just seems to go on for an age in the film. There are some good performances here, and the costumes and sets are excellent, but as far as romantic dramas go, I wasn’t so engrossed in this one.
That said, I want to talk firstly about what I like about this story. The best thing is that it’s not a typical love triangle story. Yes, there is a love triangle, but that plays more so as a catalyst for the development of the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and both of the characters’ continual reluctance to fall in love with one another for the first two acts is also very interesting to watch.
The film is a pretty faithful adaptation of the original book, and also examines a lot of the same themes, mostly those of pride and prejudice. By far the most interesting part of the whole film is watching Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth having to overcome their various prides and prejudices to eventually give into their love for one another, and when that plot point comes to a head at the beginning of the final act, I was pretty engaged in this film.
However, for the most part, despite Austen’s successes in the original story, it just all unfolds far too slowly in this film adaptation. The first act isn’t too bad, and the characters’s various story arcs move on at a pretty engaging and solid pace, but as the film eventually got towards the middle and final parts, it became tiresome for me. I enjoyed watching the romance unfold, but because of the slow pacing, I lost a lot of interest in the emotional side of the plot.
Despite that, there are other positives to be seen with Pride And Prejudice. Firstly, the performances are generally very good. Keira Knightley is as excellent as ever in the lead role, and Matthew Macfadyen plays a great Mr. Darcy. Meanwhile, supporting players like Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone and Donald Sutherland are all fine too, although they’re not given as much to do as I would have liked.
Also, this is a wonderful film to look at. The costume and set design easily puts you into 19th Century England, and as a result it’s pretty easy to get engaged in the early stages of the film, but, as the pace slows, and the film goes on, it does lose its effect.
Overall, Pride And Prejudice is a solid and dramatic adaptation of the classic novel. It’s got strong performances, great production design and the classic story (which I like a lot more now), but its pacing and lack of emotional impact made it at times frustrating and tiresome, and that’s why it gets a 7.2 from me.