Monday, November 14

Jane Austen Redux

sure, Jane Austen is an irresistible source to tap into when it comes to film-making...but how many versions of Pride & Prejudice can each generation take? apparently, not enough. whoever the incarnation, be it a neurotic British diaryist or a fearless Bollywood seems all women aspire to be a little like Elizabeth Bennett.

against my better wishes, my jewish sista persuaded (or passive-aggressively dragged) me to see the new Keira Knightly helmed take on the Austen classic. the theater was packed with women (and the occassional hauled boyfriend) ready to take in the high comedy and drama eventually leading Lizzie to fall for the arrogant-turned-dashing Mr. Darcy. for those of us still shaking off the goose-bumps induced by the decidedly sexy Colin Firth as Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries version (um, wet white shirt scene at Pemberly? fan me now!), THIS new Darcy will leave a lot to be desired. he's handsome, yes. but you just don't SEE the transformation from uppity ass to a man affected by love...nor does he do adequate justice to the pivotal marriage proposal scene. which, for more dramatic flourish, was done in the rain, not as Austen intended. artistic license i understand...but come on! rain?!?! how cliche is that? however, there are upsides. the film is beautifully shot and the score is lovely (and perhaps, eerily similar to the BBC's score?). Knightly makes a feisty Elizabeth and Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland are perfectly cast as the Bennett parents. and Dame Judi Dench, true to form, is a biting and almost demonic Lady Catherine. overall, i'll admit that film is faithful in tone to Austen's story-- particularly paying close attention to the finely drawn comedic points. i actually laughed out loud quite a lot. but when the credits rolled, i was ready to go home and reacquaint myself with the book. even a good copy can never top the original masterpiece.

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