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Author Topic: Pride & Prejudice
Fyfe
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I'm kind of looking forward to it. I think they did a good job of dulling Keira Knightley's beauty so that she wasn't too pretty for Elizabeth. I saw the TV miniseries and was very unimpressed with Jennifer Ehle. She's too sweet. Her zingers don't zing. Colin Firth was, of course, the perfect Darcy. However, I saw Matthew McFadyen (sp?) in London, in a production of Henry IV at the National Theatre, playing Prince Hal, and he was superb. So I have high hopes for this movie.

I heart Pride and Prejudice, but I've never been able to get through any of her other books. I know it's because I'm missing things, so I'm going to try again.

Jen

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Teshi
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I liked a Tale of Two Cities because it was the first novel I ever realised how great (although cheesy) symbolism can be.
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Tatiana
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Emma is also really good, for those of you thinking of dipping a toe a little deeper into Jane Austen's writing. That remake they did of it a while back called Clueless was really funny and faithful to the spirit of the book, if nothing at all like it in the letter. Especially enjoyable for those of us who got the joke. [Smile]

Sense and Sensibility is not one of my favorites, mainly because I'm much more Marianne-like than Elanorish, and the ending really upset me. Marrying Colonel Brandon? That was so untrue to her character as to be deadly oppressive, and leave me grieving far worse than if she had merely died. I suggest watching Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon instead of reading S&S. The director made the comparison between the two, and it's a good one. He also directed a movie version of S&S, which I haven't seen but probably would like based on how much I love CTHD.

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Tatiana
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I never read A Tale of Two Cities because I'm constitutionally unable to appreciate Dickens, for some reason. I know Dostoyevsky liked him and lots of other people like him but I just don't. After reading 3 or 4 things by him without any joy, I decided he's not my thing.
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Audeo
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I just recently read Emma for the first time, and I spent the first half of the book being rather annoyed by her. But as you get to konw her a little better Emma grows on you. I guess that's how she ended up with Mr. Knightley, she just grew on him. [Wink]
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Sartorius
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quote:
Originally posted by Fyfe:
I'm kind of looking forward to it. I think they did a good job of dulling Keira Knightley's beauty so that she wasn't too pretty for Elizabeth.

I wasn't thrilled at the thought of Keira as Elizabeth because she's so gorgeous (if I could trade bodies with anyone...), but if what you say is true maybe my fears can be asuaged. As long as Jane is inarguably prettier.

Ang Lee's and Emma Thompson's S&S is fabulous. Marrianne marrying Brandon feels like such the right thing only because Marrianne is played by Kate Winslett, and Brandon by Alan Rickman. The are both SO yummy and perfect.

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Sartorius
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Ooo, and I just saw (in Eric Snider's review) that Judi Dench is Lady Catherine. I don't think it's possible for her to be part of a bad movie.
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Ralphie
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quote:
There should be a Stone Cold Jane Austen drinking game. You could take a drink every time:

--someone swoons
--someone faints
--someone has tea
--a woman makes a seemingly flip but, if you really "get" it, wonderfully funny comment
--a man is brutish
--anyone mentions "marriage"
--anyone talks about money
--there is a house with a name ("Heatherlodge Bough," "Greenton Mires," "Ol' Smokey," etc.)
--there is some sort of circumlocution about illegitimacy
--a woman is clever
--a man is dour
--someone says something in French
--a girl bursts into tears

Oh, Dante. You spoil us.

[ November 13, 2005, 12:42 AM: Message edited by: Ralphie ]

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imogen
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Woah.

Hi Ralphie. [Wave]

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katharina
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I figured Dante's usual bitterness was because no one who knew of the wit and graciousness of an Austen character would look for him.
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jeniwren
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quote:
Sense and Sensibility is not one of my favorites, mainly because I'm much more Marianne-like than Elanorish, and the ending really upset me. Marrying Colonel Brandon? That was so untrue to her character as to be deadly oppressive, and leave me grieving far worse than if she had merely died.
I dont' agree. I think when I was younger, I was much more Mariannish, and now, after having a similar experience to hers with Willoughby, am happily settled in a much more Eleanorish life. That's putting it far more romatically than it was, but I find it harder to watch Sense and Sensibility because of those experiences -- Marianne is too real.
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Narnia
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I think most of us start out Marriannish, don't you think? I myself went through similar Willoughby situations and am now very Elinor.

I believe that Colonel Brandon did complete Marianne, even if he wasn't as flashily perfect for her as Willoughby seemed to be. He read, with feeling, and he noticed important things about her. I didn't see her feeling oppressed simply because he was so anxious to please her and because he loved and admired all of the 'free spirit' things about her.

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Bella Bee
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I actually saw this movie more than a month ago, so I've had lots of time to think about it, and then forget what I thought... If that makes any sense. So you know where I'm coming from, I loved the book and the BBC mini-series.

Possible Spoilers (if you haven't read the book!)

What sticks with me is the atmosphere that this movie creates. There are a few moments where you completely forget that this isn't your life. There's one moment, where Darcy walks up behind Elizabeth in a dimly lit room, that was stunningly atmospheric.

Thankfully, Keira Knightly manages not to be too annoying. She's still not the greatest actress, and she's still too pretty for Lizzy, but she doesn't do that weird pouty thing with her lips very often, which is good. To my way of thinking, McFadyen isn't as good as Firth's Darcy, I never found him standoffish enough, but by the end you are rooting for him and Lizzy. The romances of Lizzy's sisters and her parents are very well handled. Although Mr. Bennet is often annoyed by his wife, it is clear that he also adores her, because he understands her so well. Judy Dench is, of course, marvellous. The ending is very well handled, although you'll be disappointed if you were hoping to see them have a makeout session. This is not a kissing book.

It's a beautiful film to watch, and it really does take you into that world. It's flawed, but it was strong enough for these not to destroy my enjoyment of it.

Of course, if you want to watch the perfect Austen adaptation, do as they say above and watch Sense & Sensibility. One of my most favourite films.

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Tatiana
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Narnia, do you think Marianne loved Coloned Brandon? I don't think I do. I think she settled for a pleasant life with someone she did not love, but whom she expected would be good to her. I don't think it was fair to either her or him, really, that she did that. What's going to happen when she meets the real one she adores? One who suits her as well as Willoughby but without his character flaws? Not all Willoughbys are bounders, you know? I think the ending was a total cheat, and just wrong.

I think Elinors like to think that Mariannes are just immature and somewhat melodramatic versions of themselves, and that they will grow up and get some sense and become little Elinors, but I think they're very mistaken.

I think Elinors and Mariannes are both wonderful in different ways. Different people are just different. The idea that it's right and good and necessary for one to grow up and turn into the other is what I disagree with.

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katharina
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I think that if Marianne didn't love Colonel Brandon, then you're right.

I also think there is a possibility that she did. I have been many people in my life. I don't mean just Marianne and Elinor (I've never been reckless enough for Marianne or selfless enough for Elinor), but I've been both a flirt and practically a Mormon nun. I've been a good student and I've been a slacker. I've been a great friend and I've been a terror. I've also dated guys that were bad for me, and then later someone who definitely isn't.

I think it's nice that we don't have to be the same person all our lives. Marianne can change without it being a surrender.

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Narnia
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Tatiana, I think she did love him, but that's just my interpretation. If she didn't, then you're right. It would be very oppressive for her eventually. But I don't think she lost that spunk and fire, even if it wasn't as noticeable after her illness. I don't think Brandon would have loved her without that spunk and fire and I believe she came to realize that.

It could also be a case of "Willoughby was a jerk, I'm going to marry me the first non-jerk who pays attention to me," but I didn't see it that way. I think she just realized that she could be happy with Brandon, that she did love him. She probably wouldn't have given herself the chance to get to know him if she hadn't needed to be taken care of (while she was ill). To me, it's a case of realizing that you can love more than one type of person. She was convinced that Willoughby was the only type for her, and I'm convinced that he wasn't.

And when I say that I've changed from Marrianne to Elinor, it's not a matter of 'growing up'. It's most definitely a matter of putting up walls of self defense because I've been hurt like Marrianne was. It's not better or more mature, and I wish I could be more Marrianne than I am. It would make getting to know guys a WHOLE lot easier. [Smile]

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Tatiana
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Well, getting married for women in those days was a matter of basic survival. If women weren't married they were often destitute. Not to mention pitied and written off as hopeless cases. Being an old maid was something like being mentally handicapped and unemployable would be in our time. Thank goodness things are different now.

So, for women, marriage was all mixed up with economic necessity. I think that ugly fact tended to force Mariannes to become Elinors against their natures. And really, the most objectionable thing about Jane Austen heroines is that they are so single-mindedly pursuing husbands with their whole hearts. I can't think of a single one of the Jane Austen boyfriends who wasn't really well off, either, can you? Do you not get the feeling that a man of humble means, be he ever so intelligent, witty, well-bred and mannerly, etc. would have ben considered no match at all for any of Jane's girls?

Jane seems to be saying "Men, look at more than a girl's family and money. Look at who she is." But her women have no such luxury. Their sights are narrowed to only men who are financially well-off. It's true that they care about character, too, among this group of men. But men without means don't even get a ticket through the door, so to speak. In my opinion, Marianne did not marry Colonel Brandon because she had found her soulmate and other half, but rather, she hired on with him in the same way one takes a job because the benefits are good and it's pleasant work that one can do.

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Tatiana
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Even nowadays, someone close to me said something jokingly about marrying for money, and I was appalled. In fact, it was a situation something like M and CB, where the guy loved the girl and had for years, for his whole life practically. The girl thought he was okay but her feelings weren't engaged with him at all. He was someone she could always count on for a date to the dance, if she wanted one, but she didn't think of him otherwise. Then when discussing her various professional and school options, she joked that she could always marry that guy, because his family was wealthy and he was pursuing an academic course that meant he would be likely to be wealthy as well. She joked in a way that made it clear she was actually thinking about it.

I thought I was going to vomit.

Then someone else agreed that only dating guys with money was certainly smart.

How is that not the same as prostitution? How is that a good thing for either the husband or wife? It's a terrible cheat! How can you forge a true equal partnership with someone who was basically the highest bidder who seemed pleasant enough to be tolerable?

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katharina
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Tatiana, considering who you're talking to, I think you're preaching to the choir. [Smile]
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Tatiana
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[Smile] Maybe I'm worried about any Marrianes who might be feeling the confounding lure of that great and spacious building, covering itself in the guise of maturity and good sense.
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katharina
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I am comfortably sure (somewhat from experience) that true Mariannes would have a nervous breakdown before they could ever force themselves to do it.
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Tatiana
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<<<<hugs Katie>>>> If not before, then afterward for sure. [Smile]
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katharina
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Right. I think the point of Mariannes is that they trust their own minds and opinions more than anyone else's. If they are letting themselves go so completely against themselves, then I question how true Marianney they were.

That's partly why I don't mind that she married Colonol Brandon. She was sick, but she didn't have a lobotomy, and she was in no danger of being turned out on the streets; she had family that would never let that happen. She was also still young and beautiful and charming. She wasn't desperate. Since with all of that she did marry Colonol Brandon, then I think she must have loved him enough that she wanted to. [Smile]

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Tatiana
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"I think the point of Mariannes is that they trust their own minds and opinions more than anyone else's."

Okay, I like that characterization, if you add the proviso that they may have tried over and over from earliest childhood to follow the minds and opinions of trusted authorities, only to have found it to be disasterously wrong in their case.

I think the real Marianne will find the same thing to be true in her marriage, I think she will find that she made a horrible mistake. It was her own choice, even if somewhat coerced by circumstances, so she will learn and grow from that mistake. But what about poor Colonel Brandon? Doesn't he deserve better? Doesn't he deserve someone who really loves him?

To me, this story is about how one true soul can be subverted by adversity, by someone of evil character in whom she put her trust, and by some others who love her and mean well, but have no clue what it's like to be her, and what life choices are right for her. I see the ending and it's horribly tragic.

It's a different book for you, but that's okay. [Smile]

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katharina
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I think for your scenario to be true, Marianne would have to be very dishonest both with herself and Colonol Brandon in order to marry him without loving him. That seems like a disservice to her, to think her capable of it.
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El JT de Spang
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I've never read Pride and Prejudice.

Although I hear it's the literary version of a chick flick. Is that not true?

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katharina
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The same way Lonesome Dove is a pulp western and Anna Karenina is a soap opera.
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Tatiana
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If she loves him then why aren't we shown that story? Why aren't we really even shown who he is, or how she came to fall for him? Why don't we see him through her eyes with all his charms and the unique traits that caused her heart gradually to go out to him and be won over? I think it's Pretty clear that it's because those things never did happen.
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katharina
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Tatiana, you seem determined to think that she made a horrible mistake.
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Tatiana
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You seem determined to think she didn't. I don't think it's necessary that we agree about this, but I do believe in my reading of the story.
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katharina
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I don't think that she necessarily didn't, but I do think it is a possibility, considering how dishonest she would have to be to marry solely for money.

You can expand your reading to include more than one possiblity.

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Tatiana
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I see it as the eternal archetype of the Elinor (perhaps even Jane's internal Elinor) telling the eternal archetype of the Marianne "just be like me and you'll be happy" only it's a terrible mistake, fallacy, and misunderstanding on the part of the Elinor, as it always is when this story plays out in real life. You see that Jane wanted to tell the story of how a Marianne became an Elinor and was happy, but in the end even she could not make it convincing, and she had to gloss over the ending in a single chapter, a happily-ever-after tying up of loose ends that rings entirely false.

If she really loved him, then surely the real story here is not Willoughby-Marianne, but rather Marianne-Colonel Brandon. The fact that M-CB is almost a postscript at the end tells the truth about what's going on, I think.

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jeniwren
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My reading of it is that the point was that Mariane chose the one who treated her well and was devoted to her over pure emotion. How she felt about him is somewhat irrelevant. It is clear, I think, that she at least liked Brandon. And it's clear too, I think, that Brandon understood Mariane and accepted that she would probably never feel for him what she felt for Willoughby. In that way, it could be said they both compromised their highest ideals for marriage, but found something acceptably comfortable. I don't think it could be reasonably assumed that Mariane settled simply for money.

It's pretty clear that Jane Austen did not think highly of marrying purely for better circumstances, as illustrated most starkly by her portrayal of Charlotte Lucas.

So if you're a pure romantic, you could say that Mariane's choice was tragic, but at worst, she at least made a better choice that Charlotte. [Smile]

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katharina
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quote:
I see it as the eternal archetype of the Elinor (perhaps even Jane's internal Elinor) telling the eternal archetype of the Marianne "just be like me and you'll be happy" only it's a terrible mistake, fallacy, and misunderstanding on the part of the Elinor, as it always is when this story plays out in real life.
I think your own experiences are blinding to the other possibilities in the story.

In any life, there is more than one story to be told. Not every love story needs to be about the love of someone's life. I suspect the really exciting love stories often are not. There is not much angst and drama in "they met, made each other happy, and read poems by the lake." A good story needs conflict, but a good relationship doesn't necessarily.

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Tatiana
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I love this discussion. To me this discussion is one facet of the same central idea that we have talked about in other ways before.

Remember when I was so horrified that you said if you were Mary you'd have wanted your son Jesus to grow up to be a normal carpenter, marry, have kids, and be happy, and that you would not have wanted him to be the Christ? Does that mean Mary would have been denied the blessings of the atonement because she tragically, of all people, refused to accept the truth about who her son was? That she persisted in seeing her son's life as a tragedy instead of an eternal triumph?

A vastly different scale, but the same idea to me. I really think that would make a great book, come to think of it. I wish I were a good enough writer to write it.

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Tristan
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*Bump*

Has this movie been shown in the US yet? I was searching for the Hatracker's opinions, and this was the only thread I found.

I've seen it, and overall I was pleased. I think they did a good job of fitting the story into movie format without cutting anything essential. Keira Knightly WAS prettier than the actress portraying Jane (at least according to modern -- that is, my -- standards; I can well imagine that the opposite would be considered true in the 18th century, and in any case I don't care about that) and her mouth was no more annoying than usual. I did not like the crying scene, though. It felt as if it were played for cheap laughs rather than drama.

It think this movie visualised the difference between the the social circles of the Bennetts and Darcy/Bingley more strongly than the mini-series. Especially the first ball came across as a LOT more rustic and farmerish than my (admitedly vague) recollections of the elevated style of the mini-series. I'm not saying they were wrong to do this, but it was a little jarring.

Bingley seemed a little (too) immature, and Mr. Bennett a little slovenly; I liked this Mr. Colin better than the the guy in the mini-series, but Mary was definitely too pretty in the movie. I hesitate to compare Darcys, but Mr. Spooks (that's where I recognise him from) did a good job. The scenery was marvelous and I want Mr. Darcy's house. And if no one will give me that, I'd be content with the humble abode of the Bennetts.

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calaban
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It has been showing in the US for a while. Considering my love for the miniseries, and the trepidation I felt at the prospect of a poorly made rendition of such a classic, I was pleasantly suprised by the film.

The performance of Firth in the miniseries left me doubting that anyone could play Darcy ever again. However, I completely enjoyed Macfadyen in the role. He, along with all the characters, showed more emotion than I expect many of the time period dared. It could be considered a flaw, but I enjoyed it. Depite being less than suited to my perception of Elizabeth, Knightly held her own. Thankfully this prevented me from having Pirates of the Carribean flashbacks and allowed me to see the film as its own production without judging it by the miniseries too heavily.

It is unfortunate that the length of a feature film is such that it prevents the development of certain characters that enrich the story in the miniseries. But the core story is so strong that the omissions are handled well.

I thought the film was spectacularly romantic. I have always loved the misty countryside and stormy nature of England. I especially enjoyed the bridge scene as the sun rises.

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Farmgirl
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Hmmm...

I thought I had posted in this thread (or maybe another one on the same topic) about this.

We watched P&P as a family at the theatre in December. Absolutely loved it.

quote:
I want Mr. Darcy's house
Forget the house, Tristan. I want Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy himself! Matt Macfadyen was wonderful in this role.

FG

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Bob the Lawyer
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I'm beginning to think that I'm the only person in the world who hated this movie.
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Teshi
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Do you actually hate the movie or did you hate the story?

Also: You may be one of the few people who would hate it who actually went to see it, which is pretty commendable.

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Bob the Lawyer
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I love the story, I just feel that this was a terrible telling that was both acted and directed poorly, with unfortunate decisions made in the rewrites.
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Teshi
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Ah, then I forgive you and the horse you rode in on.

I haven't actually seen this movie.

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martha
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I think it would be hard to make a Jane Austen movie I wouldn't enjoy to some degree. It's all very well to read the books, but seeing the expressions on actors' faces as they deliver the punny or insinuous or loaded lines is just delicious.

I was impressed with a different take on social (read: financial) status in this movie. In the miniseries and the other movie, the Bennets live very comfortably in their grand house, though it might not be as grand as their neighbors'. In this new movie, their house is rustically crumbling (peeling paint in every room) and iirc the girls do some amount of housework (cooking). So that added to the urgency of finding them all well-to-do husbands.

Really the only thing I actively disliked about the movie was the very last scene, on his veranda. ("Mrs Darcy"?!? ugh.) There were other moments when it was clear the director had taken advantage of his (her?) artistic licence, moments that made it a movie "based on the novel by Jane Austen." But none of these really bothered me except that very last sappy scene.

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oolung
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Don't throw tomatoes at me, but I think in a way I like the 'new' Mr Darcy better than Colin Firth. But that's probably because I've seen Firth in so many movies that he became too familiar [Smile] The new one, though, suited this movie brilliantly. As did Keira Knightley (except for a few moments). The important thing is to remember that the movie is so much shorter than the mini series so it simply couldn't be as faithful to the original. So they simply did it their own way. And it did turn out great. The feel of the movie is much more... I don't know: romantic and moody, while at the same time it's still funny. So I treat it more or less like the Lotr movie: it's great, as was the book, but the two are slightly not the same thing [Smile]

I read one review which put me off: the reviewer was clearly surprised that the movie was funny. Either he hasn't read the book, or he didn't understand it. He completely missed the point that the original story WAS FUNNY as well, and it was MEANT to be.

As for other Austen movies: anyone's seen the dreadful "Mansfield Park" movie? It would've been soooo much better if only the director hadn't thought it would be a good idea to insert some "contemporary issues" <sigh>

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Megan
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quote:
Don't throw tomatoes at me, but I think in a way I like the 'new' Mr Darcy better than Colin Firth.
*throws tomatoes*

Seriously, I haven't actually seen the new one, although I suppose when it comes out on DVD, I'll rent it (so that I'll have the right to mock it, of course).

I've seen Mansfield Park; yeah, it was bad. It's not my favorite of her books, either, but the movie was awful.

Persuasion, however, was marvelous.

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Narnia
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Mansfield Park was bad because it was a completely different story that happened to have a character called "Fanny Price" who was nothing like Austen's Fanny Price...and they tried to pass it off as Austen's Mansfield Park. I really love that book and the movie was ridiculous.

The new P&P is delightful. I love both versions (BBC and the new) for many different reasons. The new one has a little more romantic pay off (even without the kissy scene at the end) which is nice, though not especially true to Austen's style. [Smile] I really liked it. Enough to see it 3 times in the theaters.

Here's a thread I started a while back that more fully gives my opinion on the subject. [Smile]

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Bella Bee
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So did they change the ending of the American version after all? I had heard rumours that they might.

In the British version there is no kiss between Elizabeth and Darcy - they only embrace, and then it ends at the moment she gets permission from her father for them to marry.

Did they add a new sappy ending?

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Taalcon
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I just watched the entire A&E miniseries yesterday. Awesome. Although Collins and Mrs. Bennett both made me want to hurl objects at the screen every time they were speaking.

And I was reminded that Mr. Bennett is still a personal hero of mine.

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Megan
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Of course! That's the reaction those characters are supposed to inspire! [Big Grin]
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Teshi
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Mr. Bennett is your hero? He's a large part of the problem!
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