Follow-up to Pride and Prejudice without Colin?! from H's blog
Having written my attack on the prospect of Keira Knightley as Lizzy Bennett in a painfully cut version of Pride and Prejudice, I naturally had to see it on opening night. So, here's what I now think:
I still think that it was too 'cut'. I filled in many gaps with my word knowledge of the book and visual memory of the oh-we-worship-colin version. But I can only comment on this to a limited extent because I don't know what it would be like to view the film having not known the text inside out. Plus – being short really prevented those long hours of anticipation and tension in finding out about the Wickham plot and such things.
My biggest 'however', however, is Keira Knightley. She was absolutely brilliant. And please appreciate what it takes for me to convert to this appreciation. She made Lizzy human, fallible, young – believable. In fact, what the film did as a whole was point out the humanity of its characters. It was nice that Mr Bennett was aggrevated by Mrs Bennett's nerves, but that in the end they were fond of each other and their marriage was stable. It was interesting too that Mrs Bennett, whilst sticking to Austen's 'my nerves, Mr Bennett, my nerves', was also portrayed as a mother. The complexity of family dynamics were hinted at a lot more than the BBC version. The characters in the new film aren't as choreographed and fluent as the old version. It's not as daunting.
Naturally, this doesn't mean I abandon my absolute loyalty to 1995. What I now do is accept this film as a valid alternative, a very different alternative, a new interpretation. It made me laugh, Mr Collins made me cringe, and I will see it again, happily.
PS - As predicted, Judi Dench was great