Stars: Laurence Olivier, Ann Rutherford, Greer Garson, Mary Boland, Margaret Rutherford
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 118 minutes
Literary adaptations just don't get any better than director Joe Wright's 2005 version of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. The key word here is adaptation, because Wright and gifted screenwriter Deborah Moggach have taken liberties with Austen's classic novel that purists may find objectionable, but in this exquisite film their artistic decisions are entirely justified and exceptionally well executed. It's a more rural England that we see here, circa 1790 (as opposed to Austen's early 19th century), in which Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) is one of several sisters primed for marriage, with an anxious mother (Brenda Blethyn) only too desperate to see her daughters paired off with the finest, richest husbands available. Elizabeth is strong-willed and opinionated, but her head (not to mention her pride and prejudice) lead her heart astray when she meets the wealthy Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), whose own sense of decency and discretion (not to mention his pride and prejudice) prevent him from expressing his mutual affection. They're clearly meant for each other, and as Knightley's performance lights up the screen (still young enough to be girlishly impertinent, yet wise beyond her 20 years), Austen's timeless romance yields yet another timeless adaptation, easily on par with the beloved BBC miniseries that has been embraced by millions since originally broadcast in 1995. Individual tastes will vary as to which version should be considered "definitive," but with a stellar supporting cast including Judi Dench and Donald Sutherland, this impeccable production achieves its own kind of perfection. --Jeff Shannon
Well, we're hoping Elizabeth can manage to catch a cold of her own and stay long enough to get engaged to Mr. Darcy. Then, if a good snowstorm could be arranged, we'd send Kitty over. But if a young man should happen to be in the house - a young man who likes singing, of course, who can discuss philosophy - Mary could go. Then, if a dashing young soldier in a handsome uniform should appear for Lydia, everything would be perfect, my dear.