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Pride comes before a fall
By Mallory S., Grade 10, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Pride & Prejudice
Simon Langton
A&E Home Video (1996)

After two hundred years, the old time romance is still alive and transformed from a classic novel to be portrayed on the big screen.

"Pride and Prejudice" was written in the late 1700's, early 1800's by Jane Austen. "Pride and Prejudice" puts a lot of its popularity to its vivid character portrayal. Customs change as will the government but the characters will always have their charm. The main characters and actors are mainly Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) and Mr Darcy (Colin Firth), though there are many more throughout the book and movie. At first when Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy, she detests him and thinks of him quite proud and he finds her "tolerable" but as you watch him while he's near her you see the growing affection. Elizabeth's opinion grows more sour each time he is mentioned until she discovers his gentle side and the truth about him, as she is deceived a bit in the first. Her affections begin to grow and then. . . Well you'll just have to see it for yourself. It's your basic harlequin romance but written much better and extremely accurate to its time period.

The landscapes were gorgeous, lush with many and much greenery, a great comfort to watch in the winter months. The movie had something to catch your eyes always in the frame. The clothing was exquisite. They had the plain, for the Bennet's daughters, daywear, which was still very pretty. The eveningwear, as they had many dancing and social events, was very fine for everyone. The men looked very refined, and the ladies were glamorous, as they ought to have been in this time. The manners were like nothing you see these days. The men bowed and the women curtsied each time they met, the way the parents and children spoke to each other will never be found anywhere but Japan, and the manners between siblings and friends was, indeed, very civil.

The actors, Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, do very, very well with their roles. Colin Firth can play Mr. Darcy so well as he looks very serious most of the time and when he smiles, it's a treat, on and off a screen. Jennifer Erle has the same air of an open-minded, opinionated woman and Elizabeth Bennet is described to have. She does very well with the prejudice as she goes deep with the character. At one point in the movie, Darby calls on Elizabeth while she's visiting with her best friend, after she was married, and proposed. Telling her how he felt, you could see the love in Firth's eyes and as Elizabeth declines and accuses him for many misdoings, you could see the fury and rage in Ehle's body language and the accusations blowing Darcy from the water, the hurt in Firth's face was very apparent. All in all, every actor played their parts so well, you could have sworn it was produced further back than 1996.

Director Simon Langton's ability to tell the story of "Pride and Prejudice" though the camera and the big screen, is absolutely excellent. His choice for costuming, scenery and general areas for all the shootings was exactly as the book described. It obviously had taken some time for him to get everything straightened out cost wise, casting wise, script wise and setting wise. I personally believe, as many would agree, that he did extremely well with everything.

The cinematography in the movie is very well done. The camera creates a distance as the characters speak while the camera may be panning across a landscape or town area, or even showing a while different area then where the presently speaking character is located, ending delightfully on the one who was speaking. When the camera does a close up on the actors, you can easily catch the emotion in their body language, their eyes and even the way they speak. You also notice habits that the actors will develop during the movie. The camera catches a lot of the drama and emotion of the movie.

The message in the movie, I found, was that you should never judge before you know both sides of a man, or woman. Also that, no matter how long you go without finding the perfect, sensible man, you'll always find him in the end, and it usually ends up being the guy in front of you. Love reigns over all and it can be found, eventually.

My insight into this movie was that, it was absolutely amazing. It will swallow you whole and spit you back out feeling enlightened and spirited. It has the charm of the late 1700's, early 1800's and the emotion of a good harlequin. Let's face it, this is a chick flick, but no matter if it is or not, it is very educating as well. It shows you what it was like back then with the fashion, manners and the way women would be courted and married off. I love this movie because I love the time period and the fashion. I love the emotion displayed in the production. I believe you ll notice everything I have mentioned and possibly more, and that you'll enjoy it as much as I have. One piece of advice for watching this movie, don't blink.


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