“Pride & Prejudice” is a visually stunning period piece that captures the essence of Jane Austen’s writing. Unfortunately, if you find Austen’s writing to be dry, you will also find it difficult to devote two hours of attention to this dialogue-driven story. Still, there is so much Oscar-nominated visual beauty in this film’s production design that everybody will walk away with a positive impression. I was particularly taken with the scene where Elizabeth and standing on the edge of the cliff and during the sunset kiss. The film has a very talented and deep cast with brings a lot of detail to major and minor characters alike. Judi Dench was destined to play the role of Lady Catherine, Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland are a great match as the elder Bennets, Rosamund Pike captures the complexity of Jane, and there is even a young Carey Mulligan as one of the sisters. I’ve never heard of Tamzin Merchant before (she plays Georgiana Darcy) but she needs to be in more films - her acting was enchanting. Add in actors like Rupert Friend, Kelly Reilly, and Tom Hollander in minor roles and you can see the depth of this cast. Keira Knightley’s acting has never been my favorite but it works well for this character. Her very visible emotions provide a good contrast with the purposely emotionless acting of Matthew MacFadyen. My biggest complaint about the film is that I wanted so much more from Mr. Darcy’s “affections and wishes” speech. I find this to be one of the most powerfully written moments in literary history but MacFadyen‘s delivery feels rushed and unemotional. I understand that he is portraying the essence of Darcy’s character, even in that heartfelt moment, but this moment should have had me in tears and it totally missed the mark. One thing that absolutely did not miss the mark is the incredible theme developed by Dario Marianelli. He perfectly captures the classical style and incorporates the theme into every important moment of the film. It was certainly more Oscar-worthy than the score to “Brokeback Mountain.” Joe Wright seemed like the least likely director to be handed this project but this final outcome is worthy of Austen’s acclaimed novel. You can also see the influence of this film’s time period and content on his later film, “Atonement.” “Pride & Prejudice” is a realistic slice of life from the Classical period and should be viewed for both its interesting visual style and beautiful love story.
[Pictured: One of the most breathtaking shots in all of cinema]