December 20, 2005

I've become a cinema bitty

As many already know, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book, and I have seen every movie adaptation that has been produced.

How amazing that another, starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, should come out so quickly after the A&E version.

So I had to see it.

I went to the matinee this afternoon. I was the only woman in the theater under 50. One elderly gentleman came along with his wife to the decidedly chick flick showing.

I loved every moment of it, especially the pre-showing chatter.

When a National Guard advertisement came on, I thought about the propaganda I'd recently looked at in Public Opinion and Propaganda from the 40's. A little later when the advertisement, I heard over the film switch to previews, one lady say, "It's just like during the War. Their trying to get people to enlist."

As for the film, it was cut up in certain spots due to time constrains; however, I thought the telling was beautiful, though a bit serious. Jane Austen has a whimsy that is accompanied by serious implications. I didn't see that in Knightley's performance. She smiled a lot, for sure, but she smiled for show--very unlike Elizabeth Bennet.

The A&E version still tops my list of Pride and Prejudices (I've seen nearly all 10 or so of them). It is one of the longest, but it is very true to the story.

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the A&E version has the versatility of tenderness and haughtiness that is demanded of the character. This Matthew MacFayden (Mr. Darcy) in the 2005 telling was a bit more simpering, without the stern veneer. I think the time constraints of the film made him fall a little too easily to love.

There wasn't the struggle of pride and prejudice in this film, it was more like a grand misunderstanding.

I did enjoy the camera work, however. Though it did make me dizzy when Elizabeth is swinging on a tire swing to show time's progression in a cyclical manner, overall it was fantastic.

I'll be honest about this story. There isn't a lot of action like car chases or trips in flying objects; it is about people and their relationships. The camera speaks far more eloquently than the dialogue. The lens is Austen's voice and it is fastened on Elizabeth, and subsequently on Darcy. The struggle (when there is one) is discerned by the faces flying in and out of focus.

I laughed at Austen's signature lines, but they were not acted in the same amusing way. I think the director took his job a bit too seriously, but it was interesting to see it done another way. I just don't prefer it that way.

It ended well for love, as usual. The final scene was a bit more lovey dovey than other versions, but that was nice too. I think everyone who sees Pride and Prejudice is left wanting a little more romance from the characters so stiff in the era's propriety. This one delivered.

Before I left, I heard the women behind me talking. One said, "Back then, there wasn't one date, and then go to bed on the same night."

I had to smile. No, no. There certainly was not.

Courtship was an artform, and only those that chose to take risks could choose for love. Cinema bitty or not, this story is timeless, and I'll never get sick of it.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at December 20, 2005 8:21 PM | TrackBack

I guess you could just say "cinne-bitty" but that sounds much like a candy...

Lots of people think Austen = classic = serious, and then it's translated into acting. Same thing with a lot of other classics, I think. It's just funny to me how we act things out as they apply to the society at the time: it's obvious from your review that the lack of amusement in the line delivery led to the steamy romance, which is what our culture all but demands.

I haven't seen this one yet... Don't know if I'll get to it before it comes out on DVD :-/

Posted by: Karissa at December 21, 2005 12:09 AM

Don't worry about it, Karissa. We can watch it together when it comes out on DVD. And then the A&E version, because it is so much better. ;)

In all, that would be about 6 hours of viewing. Oh joy!

Posted by: Amanda at December 21, 2005 4:50 PM
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