I wasn’t so pumped to see this film, based on the classic novel by Jane Austen, simply because I had seen other films based on the novel in the past few years, so the story wasn’t fresh: Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bride and Prejudice and the BBC mini-series. But this new version is one of the best films of the year, in a year with so few great films and dwindling audiences. The theatre was packed.
This may be Keira Knightley‘s (20) best film and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some Oscar talk about her role.
Matthew MacFadyen (31) plays the dour Mr. Darcy, who refuses to smile or act with any warmth around people, but for me, the definitive Mr. Darcy was Colin Firth, who was in the BBC production and the Bridge Jones film. The Mr. Collins character, played by Tom Hollander, made me think of Jim from the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice. But he wasn’t as funny the Mr. Kohli character from the Bride and Prejudice film. Still, Mr. Collins’ dialogue as he professes his love to Elizabeth will have you in stitches. Doe-eyed Rosamund Pike (26) , last seen the nassty fencer / double agent in the last Bond film, is a credible Jane Bennet, eldest and most striking of the five Bennet sisters.
For me, every aspect of the film was convincing. The cast was strong. Donald Sutherland was terrific as the laid back Bennet father, while Brenda Blethyn excelled as the busy body Mrs. Bennett, constantly trying to play matchmaker. Those who have read the book will have an easier time following the story. If you enjoy romantic period films, this is one worth watching. It does fall short of the sheer charm of Emma (1996) and Sense and Sensebility (1995), two other Austen films.