Tuesday, October 25, 2005

P&P '05

Future posts are going to seem utterly pointless after the excitement of the interview. But...

Here are a couple of reviews of Pride and Prejudice 2005, and apparently compared to the '95 version, it fails to impress.

The first from The Age, written by Peter Craven

...So this Pride and Prejudice is a bit of a chamber music for kids' orchestra, with chooks in the background and plenty of dirt and rain and tousled hair and some adult guest players deepening the sense of reality...

...So not an Elizabeth Bennet that will banish memories of Jennifer Ehle and Greer Garson - perhaps least of all for older Janeites - but one that is likely to communicate by a spirit of empathy with her contemporaries and probably get some votes, for all its friskiness and touches of toughness, from their elders.

And her Darcy? Well Matthew MacFadyen is obviously a fine actor - I would like to have seen his Prince Hal opposite Michael Gambon's Falstaff in Henry IV at Britain's National Theatre recently - and he's got good eyes and the ability to register the softer aspects of Darcy at a glance...

He doesn't strike me as an ideal contemporary Darcy - who would that be? - but he'll do...

...He sometimes looks more like a self-conscious schoolboy than he does like a morally upright version of Byron. The fact that he's a slightly boyish Darcy, a bit wispy, at least makes him look compatible with Knightley in a way an actor with a huge presence like Clive Owen just wouldn't.

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Secondly, from The Arts Telegraph

Much of the film's appeal hinges on Keira Knightley who has the difficult job of following in the footsteps of previous Lizzies such as Greer Garson and, of course, Jennifer Ehle.

Now there are many people who regard Miss Knightley as a swoonsome English rose who can do little wrong. For me, though, the second-best actress (and the second prettiest) in Bend It Like Beckham has always seemed rather coltish. She's a sixth-form prefect, caught between the freshness of youth and the experience of maturity. Someone who radiates little more than good-mannered perkiness.


The real stars of the film are confined to little more than cameos: Tom Hollander as pompous Mr Collins is a hoot; Rosamund Pike invests Jane with real depth; while Brenda Blethyn sympathetically portrays Mrs Bennet, supposedly "a woman of mean understanding", as a mother keen for her daughters not to end up alone.

No surprise then that Donald Sutherland, as her husband, is an uxorious sweetie rather than the hen-pecked soul of previous adaptations. They're not enough, however, to make you want to pack away your box set of the Ehle/Firth version.

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