The movie Pride and Prejudice (2005) is adapted from the Jane Austen novel by the same name. Although my sister had been persuading me to watch the movie from the time when I became comfortable to watch English movies (almost a decade back), I watched it rather recently- in 2021.
I am pretty sure that a lot of you guys have either read the novel or watched the movie or both- but I hope there are still younger generations who would appreciate the movie just like we all did.
The Story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy
The time we are talking about is 18th century- Mr. and Mrs. Bennet used to live in the countryside of England, at Longbourn. Having five young daughters – Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, Mrs. Bennet was in constant worry about them getting married to well-off families. Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, was aloof kind of a person…
Mrs. Bennet couldn’t be happier when she heard about a rich bachelor named Charles Bingley and his sister moved in the neighborhood. Mrs. Bennet took all of her daughters to the assembly ball to make acquaintance with Mr. Bingley.
The evening was a huge success- Mr. Bingley liked Jane very much, however his handsome and even wealthier friend Mr. Darcy spent the entire night in a corner, standing awkwardly. While asked about Jane’s beautiful sister Elizabeth, he immediately dismissed- accidentally overhearing the conversation made Elizabeth upset.
To make Jane and Mr. Bingley spend more time, Mrs. Bennet sent her daughter to Bingley on a horse on a rainy day. As expected, Jane got sick from the rain and she had to stay back at Bingley’s. Later Elizabeth (Lizzy) paid her a visit, also meeting Mr. Darcy for the second time.
Darcy was low key impressed with Elizabeth after getting to know her more- a free spirited girl, who liked to read and had her own opinion.
After few days, Mr. Bennet’s cousin arrived in town wishing to marry one of the Bennet girls to inherit their house… (Even though marrying cousin was a thing in England and probably in some other cultures as well, I just find it really inappropriate whenever I come across this in a story. I am glad that it’s gone now.) Knowing Jane’s unavailability, Collins went for Elizabeth. However, Lizzy rejected the man without much hesitation- Mr. Bennet supported her decision. (I guess it was a pretty bold move for a girl in 18th century to reject a proposal. In the house filled with insanity and chaos, Mr. Bennet and Elizabeth seemed to be the outcast. Really the father-daughter dynamic between these 2.)
The Bennet girls met a charming soldier, Lieutenant Wickham, who gained Lizzy’s sympathy by telling how wrongfully he was denied of his inheritance by Mr. Darcy. Needless to say, Darcy’s impression was getting bad to worse in Lizzy’s mind…
To set the records straight, Lizzy confronted Mr. Darcy in the Netherfield ball, but failed to get his side of the story. Mr. Bingley left for London giving no indication for return and Lizzy’s friend Charlotte got engaged with Mr. Collins to avoid spinsterhood. Suspecting Caroline (Bingley sister) to be the reason for Mr. Bingley’s sudden change of heart, Lizzy urged Jane to go to their uncle’s house in London and meet Mr. Bingley.
Many months later, Lizzy visited her friend Charlotte and her husband Mr. Collins, living in Lady Catherine de Bough’s estate. Elizabeth happened to meet Mr. Darcy again. Unaware of Lizzy’s background, Mr. Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam told her about Darcy’s contribution to Mr. Bingley’s departure attributing to Bennet family’s lack of proprietary.
Clueless about this conversation, Mr. Darcy went to propose the distressed and shocked Elizabeth on the same day. The proposal however ended up sounding like a blabbering about his own superiority and incapability to repress his feelings for a girl from an unsuitable family.
Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you… I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family’s expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.
Elizabeth Bennet: I don’t understand.
Mr. Darcy: I love you.
Mr. Darcy: I love you. Most ardently. Please do me the honor of accepting my hand.
Elizabeth Bennet: Sir, I appreciate the struggle you have been through, and I am very sorry to have caused you pain. Believe me, it was unconsciously done.
Mr. Darcy: Is this your reply?
Elizabeth Bennet: Yes, sir.
Mr. Darcy: Are you… are you laughing at me?
Elizabeth Bennet: No.
Mr. Darcy: Are you *rejecting* me?
Elizabeth Bennet: I’m sure that the feelings which, as you’ve told me have hindered your regard, will help you in overcoming it.
Mr. Darcy: Might I ask why, with so little endeavor at civility, I am thus repulsed?
Elizabeth Bennet: And I might as well enquire why, with so evident a design of insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your better judgment.Proposal, the first!
Elizabeth rejected him and also confronted him about his role in breaking Bingley and Jane’s relationship. Jane came across as less sincere towards the relation and the Bennet family as well didn’t leave the best impression – as per Darcy. In response to this Lizzy confirmed about her sister’s shyness in expressing love.
The sexual tension between Lizzy and Darcy was insane in this scene. Even after the rejection, the two were feeling attraction towards almost like magnets, however not giving in to the physical attraction at this time highlights the strong sense of morality of both the characters.
She also asked about Lieutenant Wickham, which he didn’t answer and left. Darcy left a letter for Elizabeth where he explained his side of the story- how Wickham was loved by his father, how he wished to spend away all the riches without taking any responsibility after Darcy’s father’s death, and his attempt to elope with his 15 years old sister Georgiana in hopes to inherit the property.
The Bennet sisters returned home. Elizabeth met Darcy once again while reluctantly accompanying her uncle and aunt visiting Darcy estate. Darcy seemed much more polite this time and his sister happily told Elizabeth about how genuinely her brother admired her.
Elizabeth received the news of her sister Lydia eloping with Lt. Wickham and told to her uncle and Mr. Darcy. Lydia returned home after few days and told how Mr. Darcy actively participated in getting them married. Eventually Mr. Bingley came back and proposed Jane for marriage.
Lady Catherine visited Elizabeth to order her not to accept Mr. Darcy’s proposal as he was already talked for her daughter. Elizabeth’s heart was already softened by the recent show of generosity from Mr. Darcy, so she disagreed to follow the order.
Restless Lizzy, couldn’t sleep that night and in the dawn, she found distraught Darcy walking to her house. Mr. Darcy apologized for her aunt’s behavior and expressed his love once more… Everything he did was for her, however if she rejected him, he wouldn’t bother her again.
Mr. Darcy: You must know… surely, you must know it was all for you. You are too generous to trifle with me. I believe you spoke with my aunt last night, and it has taught me to hope as I’d scarcely allowed myself before. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever. If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love–I love–I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.Proposal, the endgame
This scene is very special to my heart as well. Darcy took Elizabeth’s affirmation so seriously that he went out of his way to amend his friend’s relationship with Jane and did everything in his power to save Bennet family from disgrace after Lydia’s elopement. All he did to redeem his impression, however still respecting her freedom to say “no.”
Elizabeth accepted him this time, convinced her father about the marriage.
The movie ends with Darcy and Elizabeth spending a pleasant evening in Darcy estate embracing each other with kiss of love…
In today’s world, with cutting edge technologies we are almost never apart. We can visit our partners in hours, who live half a world apart. Then there are chatting and video calling apps to fill up the rest of the void- however with all of these amazing tools in hand, we still lack emotional intimacy and trust- which I feel are the basis of any real relationship. Pride and Prejudice, though a fiction, is a great reminder to all of us to be free-spirited like Lizzy or be kind and compassionate like Darcy… We humans aren’t perfect, yet we can do so much to make ourselves better- for ourselves and also for the people we love so dearly.
The plot of the 2005 adaptation hasn’t strictly followed the novel (I read that too!), however it’s a great movie to watch. I absolutely loved the background scores and the countryside sceneries where the movie was shot. Keira Knightley as Elizabeth and Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy have portrayed the slow-burn romance at it’s best.
All in all, Pride and Prejudice (2005) is an aesthetically pleasing romantic drama, that you watch time and again.
My handpicked recommendation for the dear reader.