Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pride and Prejudice

As much as I love Jane Austen, and adaptations of her novels, I never saw the much-loved 2005 movie version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley (who is a favorite of mine).

It is really charming and perfect. It's been decades since I read Austen, but her novels made enough of an impression on me that everything in the movie seemed straight out of the book. I swear I remembered specific bits of dialogue. At the same time I think I forgot how many elements to the plot there are. I kind of just remembered it as Lizzie forms an initial negative impression of a gentleman that gets in the way of her seeing his good side and slows down her falling in love. Which is true, but that happens through a series of incidents and relationships and mistakes which are all very entertaining and at times quite moving.

I think that because of the charm of much of Austen's work, and Pride and Prejudice in particular, people don't totally see the grim underside of the issues. At few times Mrs. Bennet says something dramatic-seeming about her daughters ending up destitute. This is to comical effect, but in fact the Bennet girls situation was dire. None of them stood to inherit the estate and they would likely be destitute if they did not marry. It is lovely when Lizzie's father does not insist she marry the cousin who will get their home, but this sentimental moment obscures what the intense and real pressure there would be for her to marry him and secure the family's economic stability.

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