When I saw the trailer for this movie I was both excited and disappointed: I hadn't heard any rumors about a new P and P film, so I was thrilled. This is my favorite book. I loved the A and E version, but was eager to see a new take. But, I had never been a Kiera Knightly fan. I don't know why. Maybe I was just jealous of someone that damned pretty. But it occurred to me that this would be the first film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice employing an actress who was actually the right age. Because the elder Miss Bennets are so self-possessed, we don't balk at far more mature actresses playing the roles. But here was an actual 20-year-old playing Lizzie!
Other reviewers have said much of what I would say. The scenery is lush and the score is lovely. Purists and prudes will quibble that Mr. and Mrs. Hurst are left out entirely, and that there is a chaste post-wedding kissing scene at the end (past the point where Austen herself ended the story.) Some scenes take place out of doors, which I found incredibly refreshing. In the book and the previous movies, almost all scenes are indoors. This gives the movie a less claustrophobic feel.
The costumes and sets are just beautiful. Lizzie wears the same few dresses over and over, as she undoubtedly would have done. Hems are muddy, yes, and not only in the scene where she arrives to visit indisposed Jane at Netherfield. There are almost no bonnets in this movie. The dresses of the Miss Bennets and other country girls are flatteringly high waisted, while Miss Bingley,'s London fashions are more extreme and therefore less flattering but more elegant, and the older ladies like Mrs. Bennet still cleave to earlier styles with more of a bodice. These little touches are subtle but thoughtful. Longbourne is delightful, entirely surrounded by a small moat. There are chickens and geese, cows and pigs around, and a lovely dog or two wandering through the house.
The cinematography is stunning. Camera shots are sometimes just one very long single shot lasting many minutes and covering a lot of movement and human interactions.
And Kiera Knightly? Absolutely perfect. You may think that she is too pretty to play Lizzie, but then you have to realize that in 1797 she would have been thought too thin and boyish for ideal beauty. Rosamund Pike makes a perfect, pleasing Jane. Matthew Mcfaddyen is a new gold standard for Darcy. The scene in the rainstorm when he first proposes to Lizzie is dazzling.
This is a movie I will happily watch again and again.