Being Portuguese, Jane Austen is not an author I heard about at school, despite having started to learn English when I was 10 years old. I was introduced to Jane Austen’s work by watching the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It is a British-American production directed by Joe Wright and staring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as Mr Darcy.
The film is not altogether faithful to the book, as the story had to be compressed into a two-hour film. But, as I don’t mind when adaptations don’t stick to all book plot points, I love it nevertheless and still watch it once in a while. Although many people don’t seem to like this film, it also got four nominations for the Oscars.
We first become acquainted with the Bennet family. Mr and Mrs Bennet have five daughters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia), hence their house is going to be inherited by their cousin, Mr Collins. Mrs Bennet is hilarious and openly shows her eagerness to marry off all her daughters. So, she becomes quite ecstatic when she hears that wealthy bachelor Charles Bingley has recently moved into Netherfield, a nearby estate. He is introduced to society at a ball, which he attends accompanied by his sister and his friend Mr Darcy. While Mr Bingley becomes smitten by the shy Jane, Elizabeth instantly dislikes Mr Darcy. But first impressions are not always accurate.
Pride and Prejudice was also the film that introduced me to Joe Wright, who is now one of my favourite directors. He is not afraid of showing off camera movements. I really like the scene where Elizabeth is on a swing. I also adore the soundtrack composed by Dario Marianelli and the performance of Matthew Macfadyen as Mr Darcy. Keira Knightley is not perfect as Elizabeth, but they both give an impressive performance in the scene they share after getting soaked in rain.
Soon after watching the film, I read the book and fell in love with Jane Austen. So, I have this adaptation to thank for introducing me to one of my now favourite authors.