Favourite Book-To-Film Adaptations: Pride and Prejudice

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. Continue reading

Jane Austen: A Love Story with The Novel of Manners

Jane Austen needs no introduction. Even if you have never read one of her books, you surely have heard her name mentioned a million times. I first became aware of her work when I watched the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and immediately decided to read the book. I know this is an unconventional opinion, but I really loved the film by Joe Wright, who is one of my favourite directors, and I still picture Mr Darcy as Matthew Macfadyen.

If someone had just randomly and briefly told me about the plot of any of Jane Austen’s novels, I would probably have thought that I wouldn’t enjoy them, since they would seem to be just about simple love stories with nothing exciting to offer. However, that would be a wrong assessment, because, most of all, they are novels of manners which depict the middle-class life during the early 19th century. I love the wit of the writing style, the way in which the characters are portrayed with distinguishable personalities and the irony used to subtly criticise some of their actions. They offer so much more than just stories about love and relationships at a time when marriage was seen as means to achieve security in life.

After reading all of the six major novels by Jane Austen, who was born in 1775 and died in 1817, Pride and Prejudice remains my favourite. It tells the story of the Bennet family. Mrs Bennet is anxious to marry her five daughters. The second eldest, Elizabeth, is the heroine of the novel. She is intelligent, playful and witty, but assesses people after first impressions. Mr Darcy is one of the people she makes fast judgements about. But he is not innocent in the misunderstandings that arise between them. He struggles to overcome his pride and to give less importance to social status. I loved the development of their relationship and the well-conceived characters who enrich the satire present throughout the novel. Continue reading

Favourite Protagonists

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been revealing some of my favourite characters in books (characters I love to hate, favourite female characters and favourite supporting characters). Today I introduce you to some of my favourite protagonists. These are leading characters who stood out for me among the various I discovered throughout the years and that I keep remembering for several reasons. The books they feature in are not necessarily my favourite books of all time (although some of them may be), as when I like almost all of the characters, it’s difficult for one of them to stand out from the rest.

 

Mrs de Winter – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The unnamed narrator of the first book I read by Daphne du Maurier is quite an insecure young woman at the beginning, but that didn’t stop me from really liking her as a protagonist. The main reason why is her feelings being quite relatable, taking into consideration the situation she was facing. By the end of the novel I felt like I really knew her and missed hearing about her feelings and worries. Continue reading

On Adaptations: Are the Books Always Better?

Whenever a new film or TV adaptation is announced, it isn’t difficult to find someone saying that the books are always better. That is a statement that I’ve never agreed with. The vast majority of the adaptations that I’ve watched, I enjoyed as much as the books. Some I even liked more than the books. Although it’s true that I believe that some adaptations may not do a book justice, this is far from the rule for me.

I really struggle to claim that a book is better than its adaptation, or vice versa, mainly because I would be comparing two completely different forms of entertainment, which require different ways of storytelling. What works fantastically on page may not work on screen. I tend to compare the enjoyment I had when reading the book or watching the film or TV adaptation instead of saying one is better than the other. The fact that I liked reading about a story more than watching it on screen doesn’t automatically make the adaptation a bad one.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad adaptations. If the adaptation completely misrepresents the feelings, the tone or the entire plot of the story to the point that it stops making sense, then it is not only a bad adaptation but also a bad film or TV show. I don’t expect all the plot points to be presented on screen in the exactly same way in which they were written. I don’t mind changes on adaptations at all, as long as they make sense in the context of the story being told, or they result in a more compelling story on screen. Continue reading

Favourite Female Characters

Tomorrow, the 8th of March, we celebrate the International Women’s Day, not only to honour the women who fought for equal rights and celebrate women’s economic, political and social achievements, but also to highlight the importance of continuing the path to gender parity. Unfortunately, I haven’t read enough books about female rights to give book recommendations focusing on the topic. So, instead I decided to choose my favourite female characters.

The characters I’ve selected as my favourites are not necessarily women that fought for equality of the sexes or that advocated for any kind of change. They are solely characters that stood out to me for their characteristics or actions throughout the books they are part of.

In no special order, these are some of my favourite female characters: Continue reading

Favourite Love Stories

To celebrate Valentine’s day, I decided to reveal some of my favourite love stories featured in novels. I usually don’t read books that focus solely on a love story with nothing more happening throughout the plot besides the couple trying to get together or solve any problems they may have. I enjoy books featuring loves stories, but they have to be accompanied by a compelling plot, witticism, an interesting historical background, an epic adventure, or an array of complex characters.

I will try not to reveal many significant plot points about the books I am about to mention, but in order to convey my thoughts on some of the relationships I can’t completely avoid spoilers. So, if you haven’t read the following books and really don’t want to know too many things about them, it’s better not to read the short texts under my choices.

In no special order, these are some of my favourite love stories featured in books: Continue reading