I have already covered the bad parts of this movie pretty extensively last summer, so today I am going to focus on the good.
First of all, I really like the actress they chose for Jane Bennet. She was gorgeous (as she is supposed to be) but she still came across as innocent and good-natured. I think she is the best Jane Bennet yet.
I also thought they picked a good Charlotte Lucas. She was believable and they made her character sympathetic. I liked what she said to Lizzy after she gets engaged to Mr. Collins. No, that speech is not in the book, but it fit with the attitude of the character and it explained her actions to the modern audience.
I love the one long sweeping shot through the Netherfield ball where it's showing her family's humiliating behavior. It was a cool shot, and I like how it was able to connect the events into one view of how the night was going. However, I'm not sure that this movie highlighted the humiliation enough. You see Mrs. Bennet talking loudly to her friends, but there isn't anyone else listening and everyone else around is being loud too. It's not as bad as the other movie, where they're at dinner and everyone can hear what she's saying, including Mr. Darcy. I think it could have emphasized the impropriety of her family's actions a little more.
This movie is pretty to look at and it has fantastic music. It is filmed well, in an artistic way. Something about the way they lit the scenes makes it feel unrealistic, but they did it on purpose and I think it works if you like that sort of fairy-tale look.
There are two camps of Pride and Prejudice fans: those who believe Mr. Darcy is prideful and arrogant at the beginning and learns his lesson at the end, and those who believe that Darcy was just shy all along. This movie is made for those who believe in shy-Darcy theory.
That is a genuine part of the Pride and Prejudice fan-base, so I guess they deserve a movie that follows their version of the story. It's interesting to see the different groups discussing this movie. Pemberley.com has a lot of good threads on the subject.
(Now I will go off-subject and talk about my theory. Sorry.)
I don't believe that Mr. Darcy was shy. The word "shy" implies "insecure," and Darcy is definitely secure and confident. He is a very strong character because (until Lizzy comes along) he doesn't really care what people think about him.
I also don't take the other extreme and say that he was horrible at the beginning. He was in a bad mood and didn't feel like dancing and making small talk. He didn't care about impressing these people. It's suggested later that he is usually a pleasant enough person in social situations. Lizzy just happened to meet him for the first time when he was having an off night.
The pride issue is interesting. He is prideful at the beginning of the story, but I don't think it's the type of pride most people think of. He says at Netherfield, "...where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation."
Consider that his only major objection to the Bennet family is their impropriety. Mr. Darcy is a good landlord and master to his servants, he is an excellent brother, he has made sure to educate Georgiana and take care of her. He has managed his estate well and built a huge library. What he cares the most about is upholding his family's good name. He is proud of the things his father accomplished and he is continuing that legacy.
Contrast that with the Bennet family. Mr. Bennet couldn't care less about how society views his family. He lets his daughters run wild and doesn't say a word. He never educated any of them. He wasn't smart with money; he spent his whole income for years instead of setting anything aside for his family to live on after his death, even though he knew about the entail and there were no guarantees that he would have a son.
Really, Mr. Darcy's main objection to the Bennet family is their lack of pride. Family pride and personal pride.
What do you think? Was Darcy arrogant, shy, or something else?
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