Over the weekend I watched the latest cinema adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I was suprised how much I loved this film. I have told many people the best film of 2005 was David Croneberg's A History of Violence and while that remains true, Pride and Prejudice isn't too far behind.
The main criticism I have heard of this film is that it was not the A&E version of the film with Colin Firth as Darcy. Another criticism I have heard is that it is not as true to the book as it should be. I think that is unfair on everyone associated with this film. They did not set out to make a 5 hour A&E miniseries of the movie. They did not set out to give every side of each character. The story is told primarily from the perspective of Elisabeth Bennet, played by Kiera Knightly. That being the case you see a story, done before over 4-5 hours done in 2 hours and 9 minutes. While something may be lost for those who wanted to see teh full story told from multiple viewpoints, I think they may miss the point that the film, as it's own piece of art, is a wonderfully acted, beautifully shot, and perfectly paced film. You are going to run into difficulty when you are taking such a beloved novel as Pride and Prejudice and bringing it to the screen in your own vision of the film, it's a huge risk to take. No matter how many people enjoy it, there will be others that hate it, because it wasn't their vision of the film.
The bottom line is, throughout the story, I deeply cared about Darcy and Elisabeth. I very much wanted them to make the decision to be together. When they finally did, after all the misunderstandings, and obstacles I was thrilled. In the hands of lesser players and a less competent director perhaps the story would have seemed rehashed, something that everyone has seen before in one form or another. But, for me at least, this version felt fresh. It just worked.