As a novel, it is one of Jane Austin’s pearls and this Hollywood version, in my opinion, reflected it the most. The film belongs mainly to the romance genre.
Despite the very old British theme you really enjoy everything about it and never feel bored; the story, the events, the scenes, the rural nature, the comfortable old decor and the period.
It narrates the love story between a wealthy British tycoon man and a very humble poor girl during the era of 15th century and how they deal with the social and financial differences between them. The main plot revolves around the pride in love.
As the film begins, it opens on Elizabeth Bennet reading while walking. She arrives to
Mr. Bennet's poor yet cheerful and happy family house in the middle of the rural England with the fantastic relevant music. Then, starts the scene of Elizabeth’s four sisters and their mother eager to marry them fast at any price and nagging with them at Mr. Bennet to make use of Mr. Bingley’s visit in hope of marrying any of them.
As dance parties were the only way for girls at that time to become acquainted with others in general and with men in particular, they waited for any chance to get to it. Hence, they go dancing in the prestigious and wealthy Mr. Bingley’s ball. He falls in love with Jane, the first daughter of Bennet. His friend Mr. Darcy who accompanied him seems conservative, arrogant, and gloomy and even apparently rejects Elizabeth, gets secretly bewitched at the first sight by her.
The conflict is not only in the social levels difference but also in the characters traits difference. The bald, extrovert and expressive Elizabeth and the emotional but extremely conservative, aggressive and arrogant Mr. Darcy.
Though the plot in romance films is usually expected, here it is ultimately satisfying and exciting. We are in front of a different emotional character, “Mr. Darcy”. He adores Elizabeth and at the same moment despises her family and regards them as scum. Over and above, He advises his friend not to marry her sister, as he thinks she likes him for only his fortune. He thinks of them with contempt.
Elizabeth finds out all that and faces him. He doesn’t deny anything. On the contrary, he faces her with his thoughts of her family openly and his opinion of her mother at the moment he confesses his deep love under the rain,“ I love you… Most ardently”. Can a woman stand such a humiliation while hearing the love confession from her lover?!! It is one of the most unbelievable moments of the film where a kiss was to happen but refrained which was against all audience wishes. I believe that the director was brilliant to not satisfy the audience's desire at this moment as it wouldn’t have made sense, and he saved all love until the final scene of the film. Love and pride changes Mr. Darcy.
Though Elizabeth was poor and from a mediocre family, she was intellectual and a reading woman. This was clear from the first scene of the film. This constituted her character refusing the humiliation even if from her lover. She prefers dignity to love.
Body language, especially eyes and hands, played a significant role in many places. The first eye contact between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, the hand touch between them when Elizabeth was leaving Mr. Bingley’s palace, and the nervous confusion clear on Mr. Darcy’s face and hand. Elizabeth’s kiss to Mr. Darcy’s hand; That kiss which was full of love and gratitude without a word.
As far as characters and actors are concerned, Mr. Darcy’s character was exceptionally performed by Matthew Macfadyen. He was very appealing and convincing, and I loved his Mr. Darcy, as it was the closest to the novel. The emotional yet prudent Elizabeth was performed excellently by Keira Nightly.
Donald Sutherland was fascinating in performing the traditional father of 5 girls. Brenda Blethyn was perfect in portraying the traditional mother to whom all what interests is their marriage at any price and what that desire led her to act imprudently in many situations.
Screenplay was written perfectly by Debora Maggoch who made her dialogues smart and very convenient to the time the movie reflects.
In general, scenes were well played by the actors and well directed by Joe Wright, especially the final scene which warmed the audience hearts with its excessive romance of Mr. Darcy’s kisses.
I strongly recommend this film to anyone who loves romance and the classic rural English realm. Such a masterpiece should not be missed out.