In order to be a society-approved bookish girl, there are a couple of rules you must follow. Obviously, you must read and often. You must love exploring old bookshops, and have a compulsive problem buying books. You must believe that the book is always better than the movie. You must know your patronus. You must adore Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston. And you must acknowledge that the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice is the Holy Grail of Jane Austen movies. I have no problem with most of the rules. I love old bookstores, and I do have a problem buying books. The books is better than the movie with a few exceptions, and my patronus is probably a squirrel. And hey, I like Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston (though not as much as Tumblr does). But now I must break with nerd girl canon. I think the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice is much better than Colin Firth’s version.
I know, it’s sacrilegious. It’s crazy. How can I think that? Well, a couple of reasons.
1. The time. I’m sorry, I know that the Colin Firth version is so long because it includes everything from the book and that’s supposed to be a good thing. And I used to think it was, but now I am of a different opinion. Movies don’t, and shouldn’t necessarily, contain everything from the book. They’d all be too long. Just like an author should edit his work and make it shorter by tightening scenes and taking out unnecessary words, movie adaptations of these books need to be edited. It makes the storyline in the movie flow much better than a direct translation from page to screen. In the end, I am a big fan of editing. I believe in editing everything, mostly because I feel like authors and movie producers alike have forgotten how to do it and that’s who we end up with trilogies that should be one book, and three hours movies that should be one and a half hours. The two hour P & P flows much better than the six hour one.
2. The actors. I know Colin Firth is supposed to be gold as Mr. Darcy, the embodiment of the perfect literary guy ever, but I disagree. I think he’s just as stiff at the end of the six hour saga as he is at the beginning. There’s no visible change in his character besides his words. His demeanor does not change at all. I think Matthew MacFadyen presents a much more developed, complex, and emotional Mr. Darcy. And the difference between his Darcy at the beginning and end of the film is much more noticeable. Also, period dramas are Keira Knightly’s home and she’s a wonderful Elizabeth Bennet.
3. The music. Dario Marianelli and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, be still my beating heart. The music is predominantly period-approriate piano music that is so, so beautiful. It’s an incredible soundtrack, and the music fits the movie perfectly.
4. Joe Wright. The director. He’s incredible. Not all of his films are the best (Atonement), but is a great director, as evidenced by this movie and his adaptation (also starring Keira Knightly) of Anna Karenina. He’s directing a new Peter Pan film, scheduled for July 2015, and it should be very interesting to see what he does with it!