This mini series was my introduction to Pride and Prejudice, and to Jane Austen period. I was a little kid, too young to read the book, when this came out. My mom and I would run marathons of it in our 5 or 6 part VHS collection. (You see kids, a VHS was a big hunk of plastic that could only hold so much of a film so sometimes they had to split it up into many parts).
Because of this when I read the book I see Colin Firth as Darcy, I see Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie, and I’m entirely ok with that.
You see as P&P adaptations go this is one of the best. Lizzie’s snark is perfectly captured by Ehle, while retaining the respect (mostly) that was proper for the period. Colin’s Darcy is pretty swoon worthy, and his shirtless lake scene, while not in the book, has been copied in many other P&P adaptations (looking at you HEARTSTONE).
The casting of this mini series is superb. From the snooty Caroline Bingly to the intimidating Lady Catherine, Mrs. Bennet to George Wickham, everyone was carefully chosen. Mrs. Bennet is over the top and dramatic, Wickham is charmingly awful, Lydia is airheadly reckless, and boh Caroline and Lady Catherine are obnoxiously superior in their respective ways. The choices are well thought out and well played, and fans of British TV and film may see a few familiar faces.
But as adaptations go this is a long one, clocking in at somewhere around 5 hours. Because of this it’s not really a casual watch type deal, you really have to commit to the sucker. However because of the long run time this version of the tale is able to spend necessary time on all the best parts and characters in the story. relationships and character development don’t feel so rushed. Instead they develop more naturally like they do in the novel.
Now maybe I’m biased (partially because I cannot stand the Keira Knightley version of the film) but this is one of the best adaptations of Pride and Prejudice I’ve seen. If you’re a geek like me there’s even a keepsake version with a cool book and extra features about the filming. A book about the filming of a book adapted film. Yep, a little meta.
I think all Austenites need to see this adaptation. If you like it there’s a similar mini series by the same team for Tom Jones (which is also excellent).
I also recommend Bride and Prejudice for you guys.
What is your favorite P&P adaptation? Share your thoughts in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,