For this post back in September I was asked by Cinnamon at A Journey of Books to talk about why I so loved the movie. I ended up enjoying the assignment more than I initially thought I would, and now I will share my thoughts with you all. Enjoy!
When Cinnamon requested that I write my blog on what I loved so much about the 2005 movie adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, I cringed. Naturally I am thrilled and extremely thankful to be given the opportunity to talk about my latest novel and the series I write, so allow me to explain the audible groans!
My second book is “Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley” (release date Sept. 1) and is the follow-up to “Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One” that was released in March. I have never made a secret of the fact that my obsession with all things Austen began on a day in November of 2005 when I watched Joe Wright’s big-screen version of the classic novel. Over the subsequent years as I wrote my happily-ever-after sequel, studied Regency history and the writings of Jane Austen, and then promoted my debut novel, the question of “why the movie” came up, well, constantly! Too often it was with an attached negativity. I grew weary of defending, comparing, and apologizing. I nearly lost sight of just why I did fall in love with the movie, an emotion that set me on this pathway. And I promised to not go down that route again.
And that is why I grimaced at Cinnamon’s request. Then I had an epiphany! All she asked of me was to talk about why I fell in love with the movie. No comparing. No apologizing. No defending. Just my thoughts! I realized it was a marvelous opportunity to reflect on the past. To transport myself back to that day nearly four years ago when I sat in that dark theater and experienced something marvelous. I popped in my DVD, having not actually watched the movie in several months now, and let the sensations rush over me again.
What DO I love so much about Pride & Prejudice 2005? Let me tell you!
The opening sequence with the lush, vivid colors of green moor and golden sunlight, the soft piano playing amid the tweet of birds and barnyard animals as the camera pans over the landscape and then Lizzy reading and then the graceful sweep over Longbourn is brilliant. I was captured instantly and knew that the filming, at the very least, would be superb. And it is, all the way through. From a cinematic standpoint, this lover of film is captivated by the sheer genius of Joe Wright as an artist. I love the interpretation of England: raw, gritty, real. Not the pristine perfection of most period dramas that, although I love them, is just not accurate.
Then I encountered the Bennets. Laughing, silly, loving, humorous – a family. In that one opening scene lasting about a minute I felt as if I knew these people. I like them! By their dress, hairstyles, mannerisms, furnishings, etc. I instantly comprehended these characters’ personalities and class. Same with Mr. Darcy and the Bingleys. The dialogue, the props, the costumes, the music – all of it tells a story within itself of who these characters are.
This is a fun movie! I was completely entertained. I laughed numerous times; as did everyone in the theater each of the dozen times I saw it! The actors who played these roles were excellently cast and performed amazingly. How could you not laugh at Mr. Collins? Cringe at Mrs. Bennet? Cheer at Lizzy’s spunk? Cry at Jane’s heartbreak? You feel every emotion and know what they are thinking even when they don’t speak. Superb acting and superb directing. There are so many subtleties that would take me far too long to enumerate, but each moment is utilized flawlessly to advance the story and capture your heart.
I have purposely saved the best for last. I walked into the theater to watch a romance. Pure and simple. Anything else was a bonus, and I got a whole lot more. But I wanted to fall in love with the hero and heroine, root for them, feel their passion, and trust in their love. Most importantly, it was imperative that I believed they would live happily ever after. I did. I do. Wholeheartedly.
Keira Knightley’s Lizzy Bennet is incredible. She is beautiful, witty, fearless, and smart, yet also vulnerable, gentle hearted, and passionate. Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy is handsome, masculine, intelligent, and noble, yet also shy, honest, tender, and passionate. This is a couple perfectly matched and I knew it, immediately. Not because I was supposed to, but because it was there on the screen. Palpable, intense, and exposed. This is the quintessential love story of two people clashing in their similarities and fears, and then growing and changing as they realize the incredible love they possess for each other. A love that is consuming, zealous, and soul binding. A love that needs the other person, that is complete when together. That is what a love story is supposed to be and that is what this movie gives.
My heart was touched by the cinematography, the music, the costuming, the characters, and so much more. But more than anything my soul was moved by a timeless love story so beautifully portrayed that it refused to dissipate. I was and still am bewitched. Watching it again today I do remember those feelings of four years ago. Partially that is because they live inside of me every day as I continue to tell the saga of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy’s love. Partially it is because the movie is astounding.
I am very thankful that it led me to the broader, richer world of Austen’s novels. But the truth is, I would have written my story precisely as it is if I had never picked up Pride and Prejudice. For me, the movie is a masterpiece love story as it is.