Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

While flipping channels yesterday (or, skimming through the onscreen guide, a much faster version), I came across the 2005 version of "Pride and Prejudice" starring Kiera Knightly. It was to begin in the next half hour, so I hit "record." Today, I was accorded TV time to myself long enough to watch it.

In freshman year English class, I had to read this insufferable novel for a book report. I was so confused by the ginormous cast of characters and the social mores so removed from what was familiar (with no mentor to turn to who could explain it) that I hated that book. Hated the characters. Hated the setting. Hated the dialogue. Hated the stupid book report project.

Hated Jane Austin.

I can hear your collective gasp from here. "Heresy!" you cry. To this day, I have not read another Jane Austin book nor did I plan to.

With that attitude, I decided to give the story another chance. I figured with a movie version, I would be less likely to need a chart to keep the characters straight and at least the costumes would be fun.

The class distinctions made sense. The social rigidity dictating every move made sense. The title made sense. The desperate mother needing to marry her daughters well. The poor would-be spinster willing to marry Mr. Collins because what other choice had she? The stodgy old Lady coveting Mr. Darcy for her daughter (Ew. Nephew to marry daughter. Ew.) and her telling Elizabeth to go away. I, too, fell in love with Mr. Darcy. (Though the whole "Sixteen Candles" ending on this version made me snort.) I can't wait to try other movie adaptations of Jane Austin novels. I may actually read one.

It only took twenty-three years to give up my pride and my prejudice, and enjoy the story. [For an actual review of the movie by an Austin fan and someone who has studied the genre, go here.]