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Film / Pride & Prejudice (2005)

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"Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony, which is why I will end up an old maid."
Elizabeth Bennet

The 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was directed by Joe Wright. It deviates somewhat from the novel, including being based on the first draft, set in an earlier time period (the turn of the 19th century, as opposed to the 1810s setting of the original) and emphasizes romanticism more than its source material.

Intelligent, lively Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) is the second of five daughters to a landed family in Hertfordshire. Since the Bennets have no sons, Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) schemes for her daughters to marry well so they will be provided for, to the consternation of Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland). When the handsome, wealthy and eligible Mr. Charles Bingley (Simon Woods), his sister Caroline (Kelly Reilly) and their well-off friend Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), lease a nearby estate, Mr. Bingley and eldest and loveliest Bennet daughter Jane (Rosamund Pike) hit it off, to the family's delight. However, misconceptions and judgements abound before everyone involved can find marital bliss.

The film also stars Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins, Carey Mulligan as Kitty, Jena Malone as Lydia, Talulah Riley as Mary, Rupert Friend as George Wickham, Tamzin Merchant as Georgiana Darcy, and Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: A minor example—in the book, Charlotte is shown having no qualms about marrying Mr. Collins, as she sees a lack of romance to be a meaningless sacrifice for a stable future. Here, after announcing it to Lizzie, she makes it clear that the engagement was done in part out of desperation, as she has "no prospects" and is a "disappointment to her parents already".
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Mary's refusal to socialize is depicted more as her being shy and struggling to stand out, hence why her father stopping her piano performance guts her so. Her one instance of being a Know-Nothing Know-It-All (which defined her character in the book) with the Bingleys is also more an instance of trying and failing to be mature, according to everyone's reactions.
    • In the book, Darcy is proud to the point of refusing to socialize with others who he believes are beneath him, while in this film, he's depicted as more socially awkward. His love confession to Lizzie is also not as blatantly insulting as in the book.
    • Mrs Bennet's Self-Serving Memory is downplayed and, while she's still embarrassing, she's portrayed as more endearingly pompous than self-centered.
    • Mr. Bennet is acknowledged by Lizzie to be a lacking husband and father, who only married his wife for her youthful beauty and neglects his other daughters besides Lizzie, his obvious favorite. This film portrays him as Happily Married to Mrs. Bennet despite their bickering, and he's shown comforting Mary when his stopping her piano performance humiliates her.
    • Mr Collins is changed from vain, cloying, and smarmy to painfully socially awkward yet apparently sincere.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This film contains many scenes and lines of dialogue which did not exist in the book. For example, a sequence where Mr Bingley practices proposing to Jane.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: In the book, Georgiana is a younger female version of Mr Darcy; one of her major characteristics is being painfully shy in front of new people. In this version, she's a bubbly social butterfly with a sunny disposition who immediately chats with Elizabeth with perfect ease.
  • Adapted Out: Mr and Mrs Hurst, the Gardiners' children, Mrs Phillips, and most of the Lucases were left out due to time constraints.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In this film, Mr Bingley proposes to Jane in a very modern way by getting on his knees and asking her to marry him (rather than spend a few weeks attending social events with her family to see if she still cares for him, then asking her father's permission to marry her like in the book), while Mr. Darcy proposes in a much more period-appropriate and book-accurate way by asking Elizabeth's father for permission. This can leave casual viewers slightly confused on why the two proposals are presented so differently.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's Awful Wedded Life is changed to them being Happily Married, even if Mrs. Bennet's loud personality grates on her husband's nerves.
  • Armour Piercing Response: When Lizzy accuses Darcy of coming between Bingley and Jane because of the Bennets not being rich or powerful enough for him, she's taken aback when he reveals the real reason for his discouragement of the match. For an added cherry on top, a sound of thunder is visibly heard after he gives said response:
  • Artistic License – History:
    • When Mary, Lydia and Kitty show up at Netherfield, the Bingleys' footman introduces them all as "Miss Bennet", which is Played for Laughs. The social conventions of the time mean that the eldest daughter present would be called "Miss Bennet" (which is Elizabeth because Jane is not in the room) and the others would be "Miss Mary Bennet", "Miss Catherine Bennet" and "Miss Lydia Bennet". Though it could also be an in-universe Stealth Insult on the part of the footman.
    • Caroline complains that a Lady Bathurst is "redecorating her ballroom in the French style," which she considers "a little unpatriotic." While England and France would have been at war at the time of the story, this wouldn't have stopped the English upper classes from favoring the French style in decor, fashion, food, and wine. Anti-French attitudes were more a staple of the lower classes.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • The Militia are wearing uniforms from the latter part of the The Napoleonic Wars, and they are carrying the post-1801 Union flag as the regimental colours. This is due to the film using uniforms and props from the Sharpe series pulled out of storage.
  • Almost Kiss: Between the principals Elizabeth and Mr Darcy during the proposal/fight. After yelling at each other, the two stare, pant, lean in... and bid each other an angry good day!
  • And Starring: Judi Dench is credited with a "...and Judi Dench."
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Some scenes between Lizzy and Darcy positively boil over with this, most notably their Dance of Romance at the Netherfield ball. After Mr. Darcy's attempt to propose to Elizabeth devolves into a bitter argument, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth both lean in as if to kiss, then Mr. Darcy awkwardly apologizes and leaves, all while taking a long look at Elizabeth.
  • Berserk Button: The berserk is relative given the social mores for gentlemen of the time, but Elizabeth mentioning Mr. Wickham prompts Mr. Darcy to take a couple of steps towards Elizabeth and drop some absolutely blazing sarcasm - "Oh, yes, his misfortunes have been very great indeed."
  • Book Ends: The first and second-to-last scenes are shots of characters on a meadow at dawn.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: The scene at Mr Collins' house, where Darcy makes the most incredibly awkward conversational gambits ever heard by human ears. He comes to Elizabeth, bumbles a few words out, then leaves just as quickly as he'd come.
  • Captain Obvious: When Charlotte announces that she and Mr. Collins are engaged, Lizzie asks if she means that they are to be married. Charlotte asks what other kind of "engaged" there is.
  • Cassandra Truth: A mild example. At the Netherfield Ball, Charlotte tells Elizabeth that Jane should be more demonstrative about her feelings for Mr. Bingley to move along a marriage proposal, and Elizabeth dismisses her concern. There's some Deliberate Values Dissonance mixed in - "There's plenty of time for us to get to know them after we're married!" - but Charlotte is ultimately proven right when Mr. Darcy later cites Jane's apparent indifference as a reason he interfered with Mr. Bingley's courtship of Jane.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The costume designer said that she did this to differentiate the sisters and reflect their respective personalities. Jane wears white, gold and pale pinks, Elizabeth wears deep greens and browns, Kitty and Lydia tend to wear bright pink and cream, while Mary tends to wear drab gray and brown.
  • Compliment Backfire: Mr Collins asks which of the Bennet girls prepared the "excellent boiled po-tay-toes" served at dinner. Mrs Bennet takes mild offense to his implication that the Bennets can't afford a cook.
  • Composite Character: Mr Bingley just has one sister here instead of two, and Caroline gets many of Louisa's lines.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Getting married at fifteen was much less of a problem in the Regency era than it would be to most modern audiences.
  • Domestic Abuse: A background event when Wickham grabs his wife Lydia and roughly sits her down in the carriage suggests this is the future of their relationship. The director's commentary states it unequivocally.
  • The Dung Ages: Joe Wright specifically wanted to differentiate this from the 'squeaky-clean' Regency Era look of the miniseries, depicting the "muddy hem" variant to emphasise the Bennets' relative poverty compared to the Bingleys. Lampshaded by Caroline re: Elizabeth.
    Did you see her hem? Six inches deep in mud. She looked positively medieval.
  • Empathic Environment: During the stormy exchange between Lizzy and Darcy... it's storming.
  • English Rose: Jane is a young woman, gentle and sweet, the eldest daughter of an English land-owning gentleman. She is given angelic blonde hair and frequently wears white and other feminine colours. Jane has the fair peachy-pale skin which is the major requirement for this trope. Her English Rose beauty is contrasted with Lizzie's slightly more earthy tomboyish look.
  • Funny Background Event: A Running Gag in the extended ballroom scene at Netherfield. When Mr Collins approaches Lizzy, Mr Bennet can be seen glowering in the background. When Lizzy is dancing with him, Jane is slightly out of focus but looking back and forth between them with a mix of alarm/amusement. Darcy stalks past the camera several times, staring intently at Elizabeth as he goes, until he pops up suddenly and asks her to dance.
  • Genki Girl: Lydia and Kitty are incredibly enthusiastic about getting to go to parties, new neighbors, and uniformed soldiers.
  • Gibberish of Love: Bingley struggles to form coherent sentences when he's around Jane, the girl he crushes on. The result isn't always complimentary.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Idealistic and saintly Jane is a blonde, while more down-to-earth Elizabeth is brunette.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold:
    • Jane Bennet is a lovely blonde with sweet temper and pure heart.
    • Miss Darcy is blond and a very sweet young lady.
  • Headbutt of Love: Lizzie and Darcy when they get together bump their heads lovingly at the end instead of a kiss.
  • Held Gaze: Darcy and Lizzy lock eyes for the entirety of their dance, and often thereafter.
  • Hidden Depths: Dame Judi Dench imbues the otherwise overbearing Lady Catherine with a sense of tragedy merely with her nuanced delivery of one line.
    "If I had ever learned, I would have been a...great...proficient."
  • Intimate Hair Brushing: Sisters Jane and Elizabeth talk in front of a large mirror as they're preparing and getting dressed for the Netherfield ball. Jane is fixing Elizabeth's hair.
  • Irony: Lizzie comments that it would be unfair to deprive her younger sisters of their fun for no better reason than her and Jane being unmarried. In the end, Lydia is the first to get married… and she's only fifteen.
  • Lip-Lock Sun-Block: The Big Damn Kiss at the end is backlit by a rising sun.
  • Love at First Sight: In this version, Mr Darcy is clearly struck by Cupid's arrow the second he first lays eyes on Elizabeth.
  • Meaningful Look: Miss Darcy looks knowingly at Darcy and Elizabeth when Elizabeth visits Pemberley. She absolutely knows her brother loves Elizabeth!
  • Not So Above It All: When it's clear that Mr Collins is about to propose to Lizzie, the room clears out to leave them alone. Lizzie begs Jane to stay with her, but the saintly older sister goes as well - not even trying to hold back giggles.
  • Palette Swap: Word of God said she made Lydia and Kitty wear almost the same attires to have a visual asymmetry between them and to serve as mirror images of each other.
  • The Pollyanna: Charlotte appears to take this attitude with regards to her marriage. She tells Elizabeth how happy she is to run her own household, clearly trying to make the best of an awkward situation.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: A necessity, given that they had to compress a 500-page book into a 2-hour movie.
    • Darcy's Pride is toned down while his lack of social skills is emphasized. Furthermore, he and Elizabeth have Belligerent Sexual Tension from the start instead of her warming up to him after he explains the situation with Wickham.
    • Wickham is demoted to a casual acquaintance of Elizabeth's instead of a Romantic False Lead, and the main point of contention between Elizabeth and Darcy is his interference in Jane and Bingley's relationship. Accordingly, Elizabeth's reprimand to Darcy for wronging Wickham isn't fueled by any lingering fondness for the latter, but is instead more of a counter-argument to Darcy's I Did What I Had to Do mentality.
  • Quirky Curls: Lydia and Kitty often have their hair curled to distinguish their youth from the older sisters.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Joe Wright chose to change how characters in the book politely waited for each other to finish before speaking themselves - feeling that in a large family with five daughters, everyone would talk over each other.
  • Romantic Rain: Mr Darcy's first proposal takes place outside in the Rosings Park during a rainfall (unlike in the novel where it happened in the Hunsford Parsonage). Lizzy refuses him and it's full of passionate love/hate tension.
  • Running Gag:
  • Stealth Insult:
    • A lot of Mr. Collins's lines. He proposes by assuring the woman that he does not have a problem with her low social status and relative poverty. When Lizzie visits he tells her not to worry about her best clothing, as Lady Catherine has never objected to modesty.
    • Charlotte argues there's no reason she wouldn't be as happy with Mr. Collins as with any other man.
    • Elizabeth, on her part, tells Mr. Collins that no one would ever accuse his manners of seeming rehearsed.
  • Subtext: Refreshingly for a Jane Austen adaptation, the film heavily relies on this to convey information instead of having characters sit around giving exposition dumps. Often, passages from the book are conveyed through the character's facial expressions, body language, and cinematic context. For example, at the Meryton ball no one outright says that Mr Darcy is a proud, unpleasant killjoy who makes others feel uncomfortable by his dour and stuffy demeanor; we're shown laughter dying the second he enters the room, and we see him hover like a dark cloud dampening otherwise pleasant conversations between more sunny people.
  • Taking the Veil: Mr Bennet jokingly expresses a hope that Lydia is going to take a religious vow.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In this version, Mr Darcy's insulting proposal to Elizabeth is presented less like the pompous backhanded compliment that it was in the book, and more fueled by a poor choice of words as he earnestly explains why he hesitated to express his feelings before his sudden proposal.
  • Wham Line: Lizzy accuses Darcy of coming between Bingley and Jane because the Bennets aren't rich or powerful enough for him. She's taken aback when he reveals the real reason for his discouragement of the match:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Thanks to the film leaving out the Where Are They Now epilogue from the book, a lot of viewers may be left wondering what happened to everyone besides Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, especially Mary and Kitty.


Video Example(s):


Your Hands Are Cold

Elizabeth answers Darcy's second love confession by kissing his hand and touching foreheads with him against the rising sun.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeadbuttOfLove

Media sources: