To honor the name of the blog, we figured we should start with the classics. So, we’ll be reviewing the different, but relatively recent, versions of some favourites.
Sophia – I am a 1995 fan 100% of the time. The length gives time for character development, a believable change of opinion both on the side of Lizzy and Darcy, and increased screen time for extraneous characters (never have I been so creeped out as I was with this version of Collins. Why are you sweating so much?!?!) The music is exquisite and this is, by far, the best Mrs. Bennet I’ve seen. Love it.
The 2005 is just so very contemporary. It’s accessible to a wider audience who don’t appreciate a 5.5 hour run time or the confusing social rules that reigned over the regency era, but they came dangerously close to desiccating a literary staple via one essential element: Lizzy. No, just…..no. Though I will consent that the music is breathtakingly beautiful.
Arabella – Ok so there was no Tom Hiddleston in either version of this movie so neither can be a perfect 10 in my books.
I do agree with Sophia that the 1995 version is significantly more enjoyable. The longer run time gives a much better background of social norms against which we can lay the characters and allow them to come alive. This is most significantly seen with Lizzy, who was written to be a spirited and independent woman in a time when that simply wasn’t the way women were to behave *insert super posh Humpf-ing and indignant nose-sniffing*. This version allows time and detail to be put into a lavish understanding of cultural and societal norms and subsequently why her vivacious personality could be at first so off-putting (and then so very AAAAWN-putting!!) to Mr. Darcy, and the same can be said for all of the characters in the story. Through this attention to detail we understand why Lydia’s elopement is a social death sentence to the family, how good old McDarcy-pants would feel to be engaged from childhood to his cousin (ewww!! Although it was a thing…but EWWW!!) for which he didn’t care at all, and just how utterly thrilling it would be to have a single Mr. Money-buckets move in next door to a family of single girls (SUCH a drain on the bank account…). Also, Mr. Darcy’s curly black hair and delightful sideburns, gorgeously modeled by Colin Firth? Yeah, that’s pretty much the best. Besides all this you get to enjoy gorgeous costumes, mesmerizing hairstyles, and Mr. Toad Collins stuffing his face to gagging capacity. What’s not to love?!
Favorite Line: “I believe it is of great doc-try-nal import, sir.” – I basically just love the way she pronounces doctrinal.
2005 version…hmmm…so much to say. I shall attempt to be brief. This movie was awful and has very few redeeming qualities. Brief enough? Ok fine. My biggest beef with this movie is that Lizzy’s character was presented in entirely too modern a way. The character was intended to be independent and spirited but either through a flaw in acting or writing, instead she came off as a sexed-up tease who leads with her lips and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why upstanding Mr. Darcy (brilliantly portrayed by Matthew Macfadyen) would ever be attracted to her sultry pout and hate-all-the-controlling-men vibe. The ’empowering’ speech she made to Mr. Collins when she rejected his proposal actually made me feel sorry for a man who seemed to be socially awkward and merely responding to the ‘stay away come get me’ messages she was throwing out with every eyelash bat and collarbone-enhancing gasp of indignation. And I cannot end this review without mentioning my bone-chilling disgust with the whole ‘walking through the sunrise-kissed fields in nighties’ scene. Do we really think either of them would set a toe outside their own rooms clad so informally, especially when one of them is related to the peerage?!?! I mean, people in history did socially inappropriate things, don’t get me wrong, but I’m pretty sure a man whose income was ten thousand pounds a year wouldn’t go wandering around outside half dressed just because he was a bit love sick. He wasn’t a peasant, after all! I find this all keenly disappointing, too, because with a shorter run time (and absolutely beautiful music!), this is definitely the version that most people will watch. Why, people?! History is judging you…
Favourite Line: The End
Obscenities– Nothing of current significance in either. 2005 does have 2 religious exclamations.
Sex – 2005 has some innuendo for the sake of grabbing audience attention *insert look of snobbish disdain*
Audience – (1995) is appropriate for pretty much anyone, though the excessive dialogue may not be engaging for younger audiences or troglodytes. (2005) has more obvious emotional angst that might be upsetting for more sensitive youngsters and anyone who’s remotely aware of the rules of etiquette for this time period.