Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pride and Prejudice

Yesterday I watched "Pride and Prejudice", based on the wonderful novel by Jane Austen. The movie is from 2005, so many of you might have seen it, but for me it was the first time. I watched it together with Mom and Grandma, and the three of us had a blast – especially Grandma.

… So, what did I especially like about the movie?

* The costumes, of course! I'm such a girly girl. I simply love what they used to wear back then. Not all of the dresses were what I'd regard as modest, but they were definitely much better than what we see these days. And they were all so feminine.

* There was not even one kiss, yet this is such a romantic story. Nothing like the revolting sex scenes that are usually forced on us.

* I loved seeing the family interactions: how the father is portrayed as a kind and wise authority figure; how both parents are involved in the daughters' lives; how the Bennett sisters whisper to each other in the darkness of their bedroom. Sure, they are far from being a perfect family, but the closeness – this is something that is missed by so many families today. When the daughters are finally given away by their father, this is not an expression of 'oppressive patriarchy', but of love and protection.

I also love the character of Elizabeth – so strong, wholesome and loving. She is very gentle and feminine, yet she is not a weakling and she's perfectly capable of defending herself and doing what she thinks is right.

Women of that time had many different talents, which they practiced right there, in their own home, making it a lovely place. Charlotte, Elizabeth's friend, might not have married the man of her dreams, but she still says what a joy it is to finally run her own household; not a mind-numbing burden but something she has looked forward to during many years.

I'm not saying we should go back to the 'good old days'. But there is so much we could enrich our lives with – beautiful femininity and modesty; purity as a norm in relationships between men and women; a more peaceful, quiet life, with much less rushing around and still enough time to get everything done, with stronger family ties and friendships. All of these are timeless treasures we should cherish and preserve.

* Picture: Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett

27 comments:

Anna Naomi said...

I've really enjoyed this movie as well! Did you see the version with Keira Knightly? It's good, but my favorite is the 5-6 hour one by A & E. It's truer to the book! =)

Yes, their dresses are so pretty! I don't like all the low-cut stuff, but their long and flowing and beautiful!

AnneK said...

Hi Anna,

Coincidentally, I also finished watching Pride and Prejudice just yesterday. Maybe I watched a differently made one, but I don't agree with your review. The dresses were pretty immodest according to me. And I am not even nearly as strict as you in my dressing! About the family interactions, the mom was always yelling at the dad and she was quite conniving trying to throw her daughters at any and every eligible man's head. All the girls were flirts especially the younger ones. They did not have a thought in their flighty heads except to go to Balls and dance parties. At least that's how the movie portrayed them. I am an avid reader, I cannot believe I have not read the book yet. I am going to read it as soon as I can. I am not sure if the movie was true to the book, I know that most movies are not. (Green Gables series, Little Women, Janette Oak series to quote a few)

If the movie was true to the time, it was set in, I most certainly won't want to go back!!

Emily said...

I totally agree with you Anna. I love this film too! I got it on DVD at Christmas, and it's one of mine & my housemate's favourite movies. I especially love the whole romance and courting without the physical part between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. Oh and random fact for you - I went to school with Keira Knightley!

Anna S said...

Annie,

As I said, I don't think what I saw there was perfect - but many things were still much better than what we see these days. Let me explain what I mean.

For example, the dresses. Sure, I wouldn't wear such low necklines. But there weren't any miniskirts, or underwear showing through, or bottoms and bellies literally hanging out from low-riding jeans.

The mother was a bit pushy, true. But the father was still an authority figure. And she did fuss a lot about her daughters getting married. Not that I approve of the way she did it - but at least she was involved! So many times I wished my mother would be more involved in this area of my life. Now so many parents let their teenage daughters date one guy after another.

As for the younger girls being flirts, well, you're right about that :) But again, remembering my years as a teenager, it was NOTHING like the 13-year-olds in my school, some of whom already had sex with more than one guy.

Again: it was not perfect, or completely right, or what I would want for my daughters. But there were also positive things: marriage, family, fatherhood - all of those were good and essential parts of society, not outdated values.

Anna S said...

Emily,

Did you really? :) Was she much different back then?

Oh, and the courting without physical part - THAT is definitely what I try to follow. Such a refreshing change from the smooching couples we see all over the place.

Marie said...

The version of Pride and Prejudice I saw was the mini-seriel starring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy & Jennifer Ehle(SP?).
I dont mind watching the human form so long as it is NOT done in a pornographic way. We should not be ashamed of our bodies.

Also many movies(If they are well researched) will stay true to what was the fashion of THAT Era, I think the producers are simply trying to be historically correct.

I have not seen the movie version but I hold no objections to the mini-serial as was shown on the TV many years ago. I loved it so much I bought the DVD set of the show.

Peace and blessings.

Marie:)

Anna S said...

Marie,

I saw a different version, I think (featuring Keira Knightley). And no matter what, I loved it. :) Though of course I prefer the book!

Serena said...

I love this movie, as well. If you can get your hands on it, definitely watch the BBC version, too. Though, you have to plan time to watch it, it's so long!

I thought this movie did a good job of throwing in a couple of lines that explained certain behaviors that might seem annoying or immature--such as when Lizzie is complaining to her mother about her matchmaking obsession. Her mother asks Lizzie what she will be doing when SHE has five daughters. And, she has a point. She's not necessarily doing it out of nosiness, but out of a desire to provide for her daughters. After all, when her husband died, they would be left virtually penniless.

The younger sisters do annoy me. Their behavior is just like the junior-highers and high schoolers now, just with a little sense of morality thrown in. Though Lydia does make a rather large exception to HER morality. But Jane and Elizabeth are quite sensible and virtuous.

And, in the end, they are a loving and involved family, for all of their human imperfections!

marie said...

lol Anna

I havent seen the movie version with Keira Knightley. The version I am speaking of is the same as Serena has seen but you DO have to make the time. It's about 6 hours...but there can be ONLY one Mr Darcy and that IS Colin Firth lol heehee!

Peace and blessings to you Anna:)

Emily said...

Anna - yep I did, only for like a year though. I didn't know her or really see her around much, but my best friend's fiance used to be in her class and sat next to her everyday! Apparently she was quite quiet and a bit disconnected from everyone. But I didn't know her myself so can't really say.

And yes, I want a courtship without the physical too :)

Anna S said...

Purity during courtship is another topic I plan to write about.

AnneK said...

Hi Anna,

I did not mean to come across as holier than thou LOL I am anything but that!!! But when I read my response it sounded a bit like that. I loved the movie- ALL 6 hours of it. It was so humorous-their character portrayals. I was just disagreeing that it wasn't all that modest by any stretch of imagination. As someone mentioned in the comment, it was true to the time they lived in. They were nothing exceptional. TYpical girls for their time. Sure they dint show underwear, but they sure stretched the limits of what was socially acceptable at that time- which is exactly what the women are doing now.

Ways of Zion said...

I enjoyed it but loved the BBC version WAY better! it is 5 hrs long though (2 dvds) and if you get the chance you should watch it. Ofcourse you have to do it in bits, but it includes everything in the book and is wonderful for all the same reasons as you mentioned.

Lean Not said...

As far as the younger sisters being annoying, that is something that Jane Austen did on purpose to emphasize how much better the older sisters' approach was. And notice that it doesn't exactly turn out very well for the immature younger two. That is a mark of quality literature: the who do wrong are not portrayed as likeable or successful. I wish that modern authors had a handle on that concept like Jane Austen did! :)

As far as what Marie said about the costumes being historically accurate, that is true, of course. But I do think that the movie makers exaggerate what they want to. Surely, some women wore low-cut necklines back then. But most historical movies put *most* women in them *most* of the time because that is what they think that modern audiences want to see. But speaking as someone who has extensively read literature written in that era, I am certain that it was not common to show cleavage, especially all the time, at home, etc.

Anna S said...

Ways of Zion,

After all the enthusiastic recommendations of the BBC version, I will definitely watch it - when I have the time :)

Sheri said...

Anna, I've never seen "Pride and Prejudice." I hardly ever get to watch a movie, but I will put this one on my list for when I do get that opportunity! Sounds great.

Anna S said...

Sheri, I think you won't be disappointed. Definitely worth watching (but I still think the book is better...)

Kyla said...

I actually have watched the newest version of Pride and Prejudice several times and read the book many years ago. I think that the Authors portrayal of women’s friendship is one of her greatest strengths. It makes sense b/c Austen was very close to her own sister. I have seen several blogs by Christian women dedicated to their of love of Jane Austen. It seems that the time period is loved for its grace and femininity. I think that it is interesting b/c I have always thought of her heroines as headstrong and independent. While they stay within the confines of their society they are still somewhat rebellious and untraditional, they are girls that take control of their situations. They question the ways that things have always been done and they stay true to their own wants and beliefs. In fact, Jane Austen herself bucked tradition and turned down a marriage proposal from a well to do man. These are the things that I have always loved about her books and the heroines but these thoughts seem to be in direct contrast to many of the views that are expressed on the blogs.

Malina said...

You have just gave me the urge to watch it again. I have only watched it once because no movie has ever compared to A&E's Pride and Prejudice. The movie end's with a sweet kiss as they are pulling away from the church which they were just married in. Ahhh, I just LOVE this movie! It ended up taking me to England last year, LOL!

Serena said...

The BBC version is different from the Keira Knightley version, so that may be where Anne K found some costumes more immodest than Anna. The necklines in the BBC are lower than the ones in the Keira Knightley one, in my opinion. The mother and younger sisters are more annoying too.

Anna S said...

Serena,

You might be right. I should watch the BBC version too.

Marie said...

lol annek

When I re-read MY responsed I thought 'wow I sound so opinionated' LOL!

Sometimes how I phrase things can come across different to what I actually mean lol.

Yours in Christ,

Marie

Buffy said...

Yes there is quite a big difference in the BBC version and the Keira Knightley version. I loved the BBC version but there were definitely a lot more cleavage on display! Also the BBC version played up the silliness of the mother whereas the KK version made her much more sensible and sympathetic.

Jane Austen was making clear that at that time having silly younger sisters (that the mother had failed to control) could actually have a devestating effect on your own prospects.

She also knew that her society sometimes rewarded the wrong people. There is a scene when the selfish and foolish Lydia takes precedence over her older sister simply because she is married and her sister is not. This is despite the fact that Lydia ran away with a man who then had to be paid by a family friend to marry her.

Jane Austen (who of course never married herself) probably did not hold with the idea that marriage alone made a woman a superior person, even though that is what the general belief of the time was.

PandaBean said...

What a coincidence! I just got P&P from the library on CD to listen to whilst cleaning or working on my tatting/crocheting. I've re-read the book a number of times and I think it's one of the author's best. I recommend starting with Sense & Sensibility first, b/c after P&P it's not nearly so good.
As for the nagging mother and silly younger daughters, the author had a very sharp wit and was rather disparaging (sp? liked to make fun of/put down) of her times and the norms and customs of such. I've read a few brief bios of Jane Austen and her reasons for the stories are not at all the reasons we all still love them so much today.

Anna S said...

I want to ready Sense and Sensibility too. When I have time :)

Lydia said...

Sense and Sensibility is such a lovely book, and the Emma Thompson adaptation is one of my favorite films ever! I always rather identified with Marianne...I've always been dramatic!

Anna S said...

Lydia,

I think I'm going to buy all of Jane Austen's books. I use the library a lot, but these are just so lovely!.. I want to have them :)