PeaceBang Reviews "Pride & Prejudice"
Everyone was slobbering over this film when it came out, so I figured I should watch it, especially since "Sense & Sensibility" is one of my all-time favorite movies and I generally swoon over costume dramas.
I found "Pride & Prejudice" strangely unmoving, though, and I can't for the life of me figure out why Keira Knightly -- whose main job in this performance is to spout clever Jane Austen dialogue and be Headstrong and Windswept (or would that be "Headstrong & Windswept?), would get an Oscar nom for her work. She's really beautiful and obviously intelligent and I like her, but her nomination just shows how generally lousy women's movie roles are nowadays.
I mean, they nominate Meryl Streep just for showing up.
I've never read the novel (Hunt, don't kill me!), but there's something wrong here. How is it that Mr. Darcy (played by a handsome, overly-brooding Matthew Macfadyen) falls in love with Elizabeth? I didn't see it coming. I find this very disappointing: while I'm prepared to accept that the prettiest, blonde Bennet sister Jane would snare a cute lunk of a millionaire just because she's so exquisitely rose-complected, I find it exasperating that the second Bennet sister seems to snag a rich dude for similarly shallow reasons. The only difference to my eyes is that Jane's a blonde rose-petal and Lizzie's a spunky, smoldering brunette. You can tell she's being especially smoldering in certain scenes because the make-up people give her smoky rock-and-roll eyes with some of that black eyeliner so popular with early 19th century British lasses.
I loved Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet, a kind of British Tevye, who has a wonderful scene with Knightly where he figures out she's really in love and weeps with relief. It's a beautiful papa and daughter scene, very sweet.
Judi Dench plays her usual Judi Dench Imperious Dame role (nothing to sniff at there) and Blenda Blethyn plays her usual twittering mama role (and Brenda, I for one am tired of it).
Jena Malone pulls out a great Brit accent and hilarious comic timing as the bad news man-trap sister, Lydia. Good on ya, Jena! This makes up for that scathing review I had to give you for your work on Broadway in "Doubt!"
All I can say is, if all it takes is a few exchanges of sarcastic repartee and meaningful glances with a man to get him to somberly declare "You have bewitched me, body and soul," I should have men offering their hand in marriage to me at least a few times a year. I don't get it. Maybe I should look into that smoky eyeliner and stride heroically across windswept moors more often. The only problem is, we don't really have moors around here. We don't even have wuthering heights. We have some heights, but they're not wuthering.