Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland
Director: Joe Wright
Mr Darcy is back! Yet another adaptation of the Jane Austen literary classic that combines a deft study of society at the end of the 18th century with a timeless love story. Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) is the heroine of this tale and she is also one of five daughters that Mrs Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) is desperately trying to marry off.
Mr Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) turns up in town with his friend Mr. Charles Bingley (Simon Woods), who immediately takes a liking to Jane (Rosamund Pike) the eldest of the Bennet sisters. Unfortunately for Mr Darcy his contempt for local, provincial people who are below him causes him to utter some remarks that are overheard by the feisty Elizabeth who immediately concludes that he must be a truly despicable man. Much to Darcy’s shock he finds himself quite taken by the charmingly witty Elizabeth, alas the damage has already been done and as much as he tries to get Elizabeth to see him in another light she is determined to hate him for the rest of her years. Eventually Mr Darcy’s true character comes to light and Elizabeth realises that she has made a terrible mistake in spurning his advances so she finally gives in to the man who has finally won both her heart and soul.
Director Joe Wright does a very good job in showing the true divisions in society during that period in time. He also manages to allow each of the various characters enough space in the film to develop fully and have their stories told. The two main leads, Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden, each give commendable performances as do the entire cast that includes Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland and the hilarious Tom Hollander as Mr Collins, who gives the funniest performance in the film.
The obvious question is why decide to make a feature film version after the extremely successful BBC TV mini series production in 1995? Well personally I think that there was no need to do it again. Nonetheless this is a worthy version that ought to attract an older nostalgic audience and a very young female audience but for the twenty/thirty and older teenage audience this film will probably come across as a bit slow and dated. Mr Darcy and Miss Bennet are indeed of another time!
Worth watching if you are really either a die-hard Austen or Knightley fan, or just happen to be a true romantic!