Official Synopsis of the 2005 Adaptation–
When a wealthy bachelor and his circle of sophisticated friends take up summer residence in a nearby mansion, the Bennets are abuzz with the hope that potential suitors will be in full supply. But once Lizzy meets up with the darkly handsome and snobbish Mr Darcy, what could seem like a match made in heaven quickly becomes one of the most classic battles of the sexes ever portrayed in literature and on screen.
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Jane Austen
Screenwriter: Deborah Moggach
Music: Dario Marianelli
Production Company: Focus Features
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: November, 2005
Award Nominations: 4 Academy Awards including Keira Knightley for Best Actress; 6 British BAFTA film awards; 2 Golden Globes
Matthew Macfadyen ~ Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Keira Knightley ~ Elizabeth Bennet
Donald Sutherland ~ Mr. Bennet
Brenda Blethyn ~ Mrs. Bennet
Rosamund Pike ~ Jane Bennet
Jena Malone ~ Lydia Bennet
Simon Woods ~ Mr. Charles Bingley
Talulah Riley ~ Mary Bennet
Carey Mulligan ~ Kitty Bennet
Dame Judi Dench ~ Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Tom Hollander ~ Mr. Collins
Rupert Friend ~ Mr. Wickham
Kelly Riley ~ Caroline Bingley
Claudie Blakley ~ Charlotte Collins
Cornelius Booth ~ Colonel Fitzwilliam
Peter Wight ~ Mr. Gardiner
Penelope Wilton ~ Mrs. Gardiner
Tamzin Merchant ~ Georgiana Darcy
Rosamund Stephen ~ Anne de Bourg
Meg Wynn Owen ~ Mrs. Reynolds
Set in the pastoral landscape of Hertfordshire, England, in the small village of Meryton, two wealthy gentlemen arrive to upset the environment and unwittingly change the lives of two young ladies forever.
It is autumn and Mr. Charles Bingley, with his sister Caroline, rent Netherfield Park. Accompanying him is his dear, and far richer, friend, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley in Derbyshire. Word of the new unmarried, prosperous residents rapidly spreads throughout the quiet community.
Mrs. Bennet is especially pleased by the news. She is the wife of Mr. Bennet, a country gentleman of modest financial means, and the mother of five marriageble-aged daughters. Due to their father’s limited circumstances their dowries are meager, and without a son to inherit the family estate, Longbourn, it is essential that the daughters secure excellent matches for their future protection and stability. Thus, the prospect of matrimony to one of these wealthy men is highly exalted – at least by Mrs. Bennet!
Paths cross initially at an Assembly dance in Meryton. Sparks of a positive nature fly between the eldest Bennet, Jane, and Mr. Bingley. However, sparks of a negative bent fly between the stoic, haughty Mr. Darcy and the vivacious second Bennet daughter, Lizzy. Mr. Darcy’s general air of arrogance and definite lack of social interaction is bad enough, but when Lizzy is gruffly rebuffed when inquiring about dancing and then overhears him tell Mr. Bingley that she, “…is fairly tolerable, I daresay, but not handsome enough to tempt me,” her vanity is wounded. Undercurrents of interest are clearly evident from both of them, but seeds of discord are planted.
Further encounters occur over the following weeks. An extended stay at Netherfield when Jane falls ill while visiting, with Lizzy arriving to nurse her, will throw all four of them together. Mr. Darcy and Lizzy misunderstand each other profoundly, their conversations frequently bordering on arguments as she challenges his ideals and he is mesmerized by her intelligence and wit. Mr. Darcy is rapidly falling in love with the unsuitable country lass, his heart aware that she is absolutely perfect for him but his head unable to accept the emotions. Meanwhile, Lizzy increases her dislike of the shyly reserved man with poor social skills that she misinterprets as only arrogant disdain. As the title suggests, mutual pride and prejudices flair and neither are able to overcome their natures and societal proprieties.
Upsetting the mix is Mr. Wickham, a charming soldier who has a mysterious history with Mr. Darcy, the two clearly despising each other. Lizzy boldly asks about their relationship, foolishly believing Mr. Wickham’s version of events. She willfully adds his malicious commentary of Mr. Darcy’s cruelty and jealousy to her reasons for detesting the proud man.
- Mr. Wickham (L) and Mr. Collins (R)
Entering the scene at this point is a distant cousin, Mr. Collins, a reverend from Kent, who as the closest male kin is also the heir to Longbourn. He arrives in Hertfordshire with the express purpose of marrying one of the Bennet daughters. This plan is greeting with tremendous delight by Mrs. Bennet, who sees the union as the solution to saving the family from destitution when Mr. Bennet dies. However, when Mr. Collins makes it clear that his ‘particular attention’ is captured by Miss Jane Bennet, she must tell him that they expect an announcement of her engagement (to Mr. Bingley) very soon. Mr. Collins is distressed, but rapidly turns his favor upon Lizzy!
By the time of the Netherfield Ball, hosted by Mr. Bingley and Miss Bingley, emotions are set. Mr. Bingley and Jane are in love, but both too shy to express themselves blatantly. Mr. Collins is determined to woo Lizzy, who thinks him utterly ridiculous. Mr. Darcy is determined to make a better impression upon Lizzy, unable to resist the calling of his heart. Lizzy has determined to ‘loath him for all eternity’ and merely wants to dance with Mr. Wickham! The two youngest Bennet daughters, Lydia and Kitty, only want to flirt with the soldiers.
Attraction is strongly felt by Lizzy and Mr. Darcy during a slow dance, but tempers emerge when Lizzy challenges Mr. Darcy’s presumed rudeness and flawed character. Mr. Darcy is merely puzzled and frightened of his feelings.
Through well meaning but erroneous input by Mr. Darcy, and the bitter machinations of Miss Bingley, Mr. Bingley departs Netherfield convinced that Jane does not love him as deeply as he loves her. That the Bennet family is unsuitable for a man of his station, an argument that Mr. Darcy is keenly feeling within his own tortured soul, contributes to Bingley’s decision to quit the area. So both men abandon the women they love. Jane is heartbroken and travels to London for a visit with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner to cheer her spirits and hopefully reestablish communication with Mr. Bingley, who lives there.
Lizzy rejects the proposal of Mr. Collins, to her mother’s screeching dismay. Mr. Collins wastes no time in turning to another, Lizzy’s dear friend Charlotte Lucas. The following spring a bored Lizzy travels to Kent where Charlotte now resides at the small rectory, Hunsford, which abuts Rosings Park. Unbeknownst to her, Rev. Collins’s patroness is Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who is aunt to Mr. Darcy!
Mr. Darcy’s presence, with his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam, is a planned event on his part. Months away have only clarified his love for Lizzy and upon hearing that she was visiting, innocently informed by his aunt, Mr. Darcy hastens to Rosings Park determined to win her hand.
Lizzy is less then pleased to see Mr. Darcy. After a grueling interrogation from his overbearing aunt – which Lizzy deflects with witty ease, earning more of Mr. Darcy’s respect – she is in no mood to be civil. With Colonel Fitzwilliam innocently opening the conversation, she latches onto the opportunity to tease Mr. Darcy about his ‘dreadful’ behavior in Hertfordshire. When he nervously attempts to explain his awkwardness around strangers, she flippantly tells him to ‘practice.’ When he tries to do just that, by bursting in on Lizzy one afternoon, he fumbles and makes a fool of himself, exiting as abruptly as he entered.
Colonel Fitzwilliam naively tells Lizzy of Darcy’s interference with Mr. Bingley and Jane, having no clue that the woman in question is her sister. Her anger toward Mr. Darcy escalates.
He, however, is unaware of the nature of her sentiments, arrogantly believing that any young lady would be thrilled at an offer of marriage to such a wealthy and prestigious man. When his proposal is extended, haltingly and offensively, he is stunned when she refuses. His declaration of love ‘most ardently’ is met with her wrath as he proceeds to detail all the reasons why the match is unsuitable and beneath him. He is additionally shocked and wounded when she accuses him of maliciously thwarting her sister’s relationship with Mr. Bingley and egregiously causing the suffering of Mr. Wickham. They argue heatedly, rain pouring without as torrential emotions flash. In no uncertain terms she tells him he is ‘the last man in the world she could be prevailed upon to marry.’ Mr. Darcy leaves her in despair.
Mr. Darcy writes a letter explaining everything. Mr. Wickham, he explains, is a scoundrel long known to his family, who betrayed the memory of Mr. Darcy’s father and seduced his fifteen year old sister. Only a timely intervention by Mr. Darcy saved her from a disastrous elopement with Mr. Wickham, who only wanted her inheritance and to harm Darcy. As for Mr. Bingley and Jane, he confesses that his motives were purely to protect a dear friend from pursuing a relationship with Jane, whose natural reserve translated as lack of interest. With a broken heart, he leaves Kent, and Lizzy.
Lizzy returns to Longbourn quite depressed and rethinking many of her previous perceptions. Jane eventually returns from London with her aunt and uncle while the youngest Bennet daughter, Lydia, prepares to journey to Brighton with friends of the family. Jane never did see Mr. Bingley and although she pretends indifference, it is clear to Lizzy that she still is in love with him.
To cheer a gloomy Lizzy, the Gardiners ask her to join them on a trip to the Peak District of Derbyshire. It is late summer when they enter Lambton, the village nearest to Pemberley! Assured that Mr. Darcy is away, Lizzy nonetheless is nervous to enter his home, but her aunt and uncle wish to tour the famous manor house. After months of musing on all their previous conversations, his declarations of ardent love, and the truths in his letter, Lizzy’s feelings are no longer negative. Touring his grand estate and listening to the stellar accolades about the Master of Pemberley by his devoted housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, leaves Lizzy’s emotions in a whirl. No longer can she deny the socially exalted station that he belongs to, and when confronted by his image in the sculpture gallery, she can no longer deny the effect he has on her sensibilities.
Lizzy is no less staggered than Mr. Darcy when he returns from London early to discover the woman he still desperately loves in his home. Although he has no reason to hope her feelings have changed, he determines to accept the encounter as fated so invites the Gardiners and Lizzy to dine with him and his sister Georgiana the following day.
Hesitant affection and friendship grows as Lizzy observes Mr. Darcy in the familiar comfort of his home, in the affection he displays toward his younger sister, and in his hospitality to strangers. She is treated to a side of him not witnessed previously. Sadly, any advancing of their courtship is shattered upon receiving a letter from Jane. Flighty Lydia has scandalously run off with Mr. Wickham!
Mr. Darcy is stricken and Lizzy is devastated. Obviously mutually distressed, they part. Yet again their relationship seems doomed. Lizzy rushes home to Longbourn to comfort her distraught mother while Mr. Bennet and Mr. Gardiner search for Lydia. Everyone is relieved when Lydia is safely found and Mr. Wickham agrees to marry her, saving all the girls from a ruined reputation. When the newly married couple visit Longbourn, Lydia accidentally lets it slip that it was in fact Mr. Darcy who personally hunted them down in London and paid for the wedding, Wickham’s commission, and ensured the scandal was minimized. Lizzy is astounded.
Almost a year since the first appearance of Mr. Bingley to Netherfield, rumor circulates that he has returned. Jane feigns unconcern, but Lizzy knows better. One day he shows up at the door, surprising everyone, with Mr. Darcy in tow! It is an awkward moment, neither Lizzy nor Mr. Darcy able to talk privately and each unsure of what the other’s thoughts or feelings are. So much has occurred between them and although plainly in love, they are afraid to leap to conclusions. Besides, the focus is on Jane, who is finally proposed to by Mr. Bingley. Naturally she says yes!
Lizzy is thrilled for her sister, but saddened by what appears to be an impossible situation with the man she now fully admits she is in love with. Darcy again departs from the woman he loves, filled with despair.
The evening’s celebratory atmosphere is interrupted by a sudden visit from Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who demands to speak to Lizzy. Via the Collins grapevine, rumor has reached her that Mr. Darcy proposed to Lizzy. She claims that Mr. Darcy is engaged to her daughter, a claim Lizzy does not believe for a second as she now knows him to be an honorable man who would never propose to her if promised to another. A harsh scene ensues with Lady Catherine insisting that Lizzy promise she will never become engaged to Mr. Darcy. Lizzy refuses to make such a promise.
Emotions in turmoil, Lizzy is unable to sleep and rises at dawn to walk across the misty moor. Gasping in amazement she sees Mr. Darcy striding toward her, he too unable to sleep, and his feet draw him toward where his heart lies. His aunt’s conversation with Lizzy, angrily related to him, restores his hope. Lizzy’s bold refusal to submit to his overbearing aunt is an optimistic glimmer that perhaps her feelings toward him have changed. With complete humility he reasserts his love for her, claiming, “you have bewitched me body and soul, and I love, love, love you.” He states that he never wishes to be parted from her from that day on. As the sun rises Lizzy accepts his proposal. Consent is granted by Mr. Bennet and the last scene is of the newlyweds together on a Pemberley balcony. They are content, happy, at peace, and wholly in love.
The End No! Wait, there is more! I have written of their love and life for all to enjoy!
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