If you don't like to see the prose of world's most beloved romance novelist altered, you may find reason to complain about the way director Joe Wright and screenwriter Deborah Moggach have abridged Austen's Pride & Prejudice. But if you're content to see classics abbreviated so you can escape the movie theater in less than three hours, well, you may join the chorus of critics raving about this film.
But critics aren't just comparing this version of Pride & Prejudice to its literary source. Wright's film, version, which stars Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, is being held up against what is considered the gold standard of Jane Austen adaptations—the popular, highly-praised, five-hour BBC adaptation of the same book.
Camerin Courtney (Christianity Today Movies) says, "The A&E/BBC version is like a family portrait—a stunningly lit, artistically framed photograph that captures the family so true to life. This new 2005 version is more like an impressionist painting of the family—less detail and depth, but when you look at it from different angles, various shadings and nuance catch your eye. It's the same lovely story, just a different artistic rendering."
She concludes, "The film certainly stands well on its own merit, and will most likely find the harshest critics in ardent Austen and A&E fans (or husbands who get dragged to the film, for whom this genre simply isn't their cup of tea). Sure, the film can't go as deep on issues of class and gender in a mere two hours. But what it lacks in depth of plot and character development (at least to the degree that Austen fleshed these out in her book), it more than makes up for in luminous visuals, subtle thematic statements, and fine ...1
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