May 12, 2010

The Look of Pride and Prejudice

{I love the light in this first scene and the fact that Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley)
is reading a book while walking- something I myself do quite often}

Many people hold that the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice is nothing in comparison to the 1995 BBC version. My mother is chief among them. For the reasons pertaining to the way the 1995 version paid such loyalty to Jane Austen's novel, I do agree with those naysayers for the most part.

However, I have a special place in my heart for the 2005 film. For the feeling it evokes through its incomparable cinematography, beautifully-composed music, and gorgeous set design.

On a personal note, I studied abroad in England near many of the locations used in the film, which also premiered in Bath during my time there. The film - especially the soundtrack - takes me back once more to a splendid time in my life. It feels like coming home to the England I love.

Watching the 2005 film calms my soul. A quiet homage to the simple joys of English life.

I love that the film reveals the Bennett's laundry, showing the authentic, chaotic nature of their family life.

The Bennett's home appears in constant disarray - ribbons spilling out of boxes, tea cups left on sidetables - which is a very realistic interpretation of the family conceived by Austen. Though the height of propriety was observed during these times, I do believe that a family like the Bennetts would have acted and kept a house in this manner. Another note is the costume designs. Every character - especially the women - wears outfits that suits his or her personality and generation. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett have clothes from the Revolutionary period (three-cornered hats and corseted blouses), while the younger daughters don empire-waisted gowns from the early nineteenth century. Jane Bennett's (Rosamund Pike) clothes are soft, flowing silk and chiffon in feminine pastels while Elizabeth Bennett's (Keira Knightley) attire consists of darker, earthier tones in linen and cotton. The cut of Elizabeth's clothes has a hint of masculinity, perhaps a homage to her progressive personality.

I love this realistic, unapologetic shot of the Bennett girls (Carey Mulligan, Rosamund Pike, and Jena Malone) as their disheveled selves are driven home from the Netherfield ball.

The thing this film does the best is capturing light. This incredible shot of Elizabeth and Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) frames the morning light shining between them and their newly realized love. Simply breathtaking.

What woman wouldn't want to stand on top of a cliff, getting a bird's eye view of her world? Perhaps this scene is a tad dramatic, but England offers such incredible precipices, so why not show them off? While living in Bath, England, I would often climb one of the seven hills surrounding the city to a meadow that looked down upon the picturesque buildings of Bath. There is something about being perched above your daily life that brings such perspective. I have not found such a place since but am always on the lookout!

And here we have a shamelessly gratuitous shot of Mr. Darcy. . Though Colin Firth will always be THE Mr. Darcy, Matthew MacFadyen did a fine job in the role. This scene where he walks through the mist will ALWAYS set my heart aflutter.

The first proposal scene was shot at the Temple of Apollo, part of the Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire - not far from where I lived in Bath. I remember visiting the Temple and standing in the very spot where Elizabeth stands in the above photo. I recall feeling the history and utter romance of it all in this immortalized place.

Images found here, here, and here.


  1. What timing! I just started reading this for the first time ever this week. I have a fancy hard-cover with gold pages edition from my dad so I decided now is the time to read this. I'm loving it!

  2. I totally agree with you! Although it doesn't even compare to the 1995 version in character development, unsympathetic characters (Mr. Collins is so much better in the first one), and sensitivity to Jane Austen's book, but the 2005 version is something entirely different, something unique and beautiful. I too loved the scenery, the cineamatography and I own and listen to the soundtrack regularly!

    A kindred spirit

  3. The 2005 version has been on my DVR since October. I absolutely love watching it. I really should buy it...

  4. I'm with you, Firth is Darcy, but there's something about the proposal in this blows me to emotional smithereens.

  5. I loved that post! I do agree with you also that Firth is Darcy, but still Matthew did a briliant job.
    I recently visited Bath, I was mesmerized,such charming and beautiful city. I will definitlly go there again. Unfotnatelly I didn`see much, because I was there only two days.
    Like you said, the film (2005 version) captures simple joy of English life.
    Not beeing English myself, but I have an obsession with ewerything English, so watching this film always warms my hart.

  6. I agree with everything you have said. I too love this film. I like the moods it creates, the beautiful music and photography.


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