Saturday, November 26, 2005

O, Mr Darcy!

Two weeks ago, I reread Pride & Prejudice for the second time in ten years. Then, I watched the A&E version of P&P with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. And yesterday, I went to see the new movie with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden.

Perhaps it was a mistake to be so inundated with the original, as Ms Austen wrote it, and then so closely on its heels the A&E version that is very true to the book, because I admit I was a little disappointed with the new movie.

Don't get me wrong, I loved it. I thought Keira was a fine Lizzy, and MacFayden had his moments (in particular when he was walking across the moors that foggy morning to propose to Lizzy). But Colin Firth will always be Darcy to me.

That man says more with his eyes than most actors say with their entire bodies! When he and Bingley walk into Longbourn's parlor at the end, after Lydia has been married and they are returning to Netherfield, you see his eyes go immediately to Lizzy...and there is such intensity there. My heart didn't stop pounding until ten minutes after the movie ended. Whew!

And while I liked Keira Knightley's giggles and constant smiles, and her sprightly personification of Lizzy, I preferred Jennifer Ehle overall. She has "fine eyes." They sparkle with mirth and humor, and are just as expressive as Firth's. They are well-matched as Lizzy and Darcy.

And of course, the scene where Darcy goes swimming in his clothing at Pemberley...even though that wasn't in the book, it certainly was an added benefit of the A&E version. Quite the benefit.

However, I really loved the little scene in the latest movie where Darcy helps Lizzy into the carriage when they are leaving Netherfield after Jane's illness and their bare hands (all right, so they should have been wearing gloves...) touch, and then as Darcy walks away, we get a closeup of his hand, flexing, as though it had been branded.

I also thought that the repartee between Darcy and Lizzy during their dance, when she proceeds to instruct him in how to carry on a conversation whilst dancing, was particularly well-done. You can definitely see the attraction blooming between them much sooner and more obviously--which, of course, is to be expected since this film only had two hours to work with, while the A&E version had five.

I also really liked the first proposal scene in this second movie, where Darcy and Lizzy are in the rain and he so passionately declares his mismatched love for her, and how she rails at him, and he defends himself. That worked wonderfully!

I also preferred the Jane in the new movie to the one in the A&E version, as well as Wickham. The Wickham in the A&E version looked like a messy lush, while the one in the new movie certainly appears to carry much more of the "goodness in his countenance" that Darcy remarks on.

All in all, I loved them both, for different reasons. Obviously, the newer movie had time constraints to work with, and also, I found that it tended to modernize some of the conversation a bit--especially between Darcy and Lizzy--which I think that it was a benefit to the film itself. It certainly is romantic, and beautiful.

And that scene where Darcy's coming across the moors for Lizzy....can I just say that made the movie??


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