"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." So begins Pride and Prejudice, one of the best-loved novels in English literature, given the movie treatment in 2005 by Academy Award-Winning director Joe Wright.
In late 18th century England, Mrs. Bennet seeks suitable marriage matches for her five daughters, Jane, Mary, Kitty, Lydia, and our main heroine, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley). Wealthy bachelor Charles Bingley falls in love with Jane at a dance, where Elizabeth first meets the aloof Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macadyen), and thus their tumultuous and unpredictable relationship begins.
Marriage and feminism
In these times, a woman’s sole objective was to secure marriage to a man – any man wealthier than herself. Public and private balls are a key feature in the film as places where unmarried men and women may socialize under the watchful eyes of their parents and chaperones.
These occasions are orchestrated by parents of unmarried children, as seen in this scene where a harangued Mr. Bennet reveals he has invited eligible bachelor Bingley to a ball his marriageable daughters will be attending.
Misunderstandings and Miscommunication
Darcy and Elizabeth are constantly misunderstanding one another, due to…. well, pride and prejudice. Darcy forms his initial (poor) opinion of the Bennets based on their perceived lower social and economic standing. Elizabeth calls Darcy “unsociable and taciturn” to his face during a dance, and is shocked to learn that the actions she regarded as selfish were in fact, in the best interests of her sisters.
Conversely, the Bennets hold Wickham in high regard due to his rank and stature, until Darcy exposes him as a gambler and philanderer in a letter to Elizabeth.
Miscommunication is a key theme too - Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth is a masterclass in backhanded compliments. No wonder she turns him down.
Each major character is bound to and protected by a strong family network. Although the Bennets don’t always live in perfect harmony, they demonstrate throughout the film that they support and care for one another.
Darcy dotes upon his younger sister Georgiana, buying her an expensive piano and protecting her from Wickham’s gold-digging advances.
Love overcoming all else
Of course, in spite of miscommunications, misunderstandings, jealousy and more obstacles, Elizabeth and Darcy fall in love, and when Darcy proposes for a second time (at sunrise! On the moors! To the dawn chorus of birds!) she races to ask her father for his permission to wed.
Elizabeth at the Cliffs
The film boasts some glorious sweeping shots of the British countryside, including this clifftop beauty. Tough choice between the countryside and the ballrooms for a submission, hey?
Pemberley Sculpture Gallery
In another visually arresting scene, Elizabeth contemplates her feelings towards Mr. Darcy, while surrounded by beautiful sculptures and works of art.
A true period drama, we're so excited to see how you interpret the cinematic portrayal of this famous piece of literature.
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