In 2020 I found some old movie reviews I wrote back before I had a blog. I’m posting each review backdated to the day I wrote it.
Title: Pride and Prejudice
Release Date: November 11, 2005
Director: Joe Wright
Production Company: StudioCanal | Working Title Films
Yet another Jane Austen novel brought to the screen, but one of the best I’ve seen and I think faithful to the time and the book (I think – Full Disclosure: Despite being an English major I’ve never read a Jane Austen novel in its entirety). Kiera Knightly and her big brown eyes star as Lizzie Bennet one of five Bennet sisters whose hyperactive mother is desperately trying to marry them off and move them up in gentile society. Knightly puts in a good performance as the young woman ahead of her time in that she actually realizes how ridiculous these societal expectations for women are. Donald Sutherland puts in a great performance as the befuddled Mr. Bennett. I can’t remember ever seeing him in a costume drama before.
The director/cinematographer likes moving the camera about for long uncut scenes moving among people and rooms and picking up snatches of conversation which works to good effect. Everything’s in soft-focus and lit by sunset making it a beautiful film, almost too beautiful in that it undercuts the satire of what could actually be a harsh society. Still, not everything’s too nice – clothing is frayed, there’s dust on the floor, and that wall needs painting making everything more lived-in instead of museum-quality. Except for a cheesy coda at the very end this movie avoids Hollywoodization. It’s also very funny and well acted.