before i start, i would like to say this. i can read, have read the book, and i read the title of the movie before watching, as should you all. quite disappointed in all the pompous idiots filled with prejudice about the movie.
I know that another version of the well-mined Jane Austen classic would need to be brilliant indeed. Such diverse and beautifully written characters and such a delightful plot, so deeply rooted in a profound understanding of human nature, are timelessly attractive to directors, actors and audiences alike. So give them a break. you couldn't do any better.
Lets start with Mr Darcy. Darcys embodied by Olivier, Firth and now Matthew McFadyen bring differently significance to enjoy in the proud and socially awkward leading male role. Where Olivier and Firth gave us an aloof, arrogant Darcy encased rigidly in a shell so impenetrable it was almost impossible to believe he had been moved by Lizzie's sardonic criticisms or attracted by her spirited independence, McFadyen shows a more accessible Darcy. He's vulnerable, even fragile behind his stiff manners. His aloofness is more believably from social inadequacy than arrogance, yet he is believably constrained by his social standing to regard decorum, fortune and propriety in a wife's family as significant in his choice of a bride. His capitulation to Lizzie is therefore more believable.
Similarly Garson, Ehle and Keira Knightley illustrate the lively intelligence, sharp-minded wit and wry humour of Elizabeth Bennet in equally shining ways that nevertheless bring out different aspects of the character. Keira Knightly's performance as Elizabeth Bennett is by far her best, as she sparkles in this role.
The two have a chemistry that i had yet to see on the big or small screen - one that mirrors real life romances. the dislike on both accounts is obvious, watching it grow to love was beautiful and stunning. the love story is heart-felt and sweetly, deeply affecting to a level that modern romantic comedies rarely achieve. I found this movie to be a a richly photographed, memorable ensemble production in which the romance is predominant over the drama but does not eclipse it. though my one disappointment - the ending?! of course i wanted to see them kiss, who didn't? but the shots of them arguing in the rain, and as they draw close with the sunlight shining between them was breathtaking.
Giving due significance to the rural environment which plays such an important part in the story, the cinematography captures wide frames of soft, misty fields, copses and winding country roads as an environment which underscores the gentle manners and passionately beating hearts beneath empire gowns and ruffled shirts. The surroundings both detract from the humans and function as appropriately natural settings for the dramas of human nature.
Keira Knightley's swan-like Elizabeth moves with energy and grace, hotly opinionated and profoundly moved by principles and prejudices, and magnetically drawn by the seeming arrogance, reticence and gallant behaviour, finally revealed, of Mr Darcy. For two centuries Elizabeth Bennet has been a heroine much admired for her self-contained independence within a culture more conditioned to female submissiveness. Knightley's portrayal is true to the original.
All in all, i must give this movie 5 stars, 10 out of 10, 100 % brilliance. The story itself, the characters, the actors, everything that was in the movie 'bewitched me body and soul'. i have never been more moved by a movie, especially not one where i found it to be as hilarious as it was moving.