The movie Pride and Prejudice (2005) adapts the Jane Austen novel of the same name. Although my sister had suggested I watch it for almost a decade, I only saw it recently in 2021. Many of you have likely read or watched it, but younger generations may still appreciate the film like we did.
The Story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy
The time we’re talking about is the 18th century. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet lived in the countryside of England at Longbourn with their five young daughters: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. Mrs. Bennet constantly worried about her daughters marrying well-off families while Mr. Bennet was aloof.
Mrs. Bennet couldn’t be happier when she heard that a rich bachelor named Charles Bingley and his sister had moved into the neighborhood. She 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, but his handsome and wealthier friend, Mr. Darcy, spent the entire night standing awkwardly in a corner. When asked about Jane’s beautiful sister Elizabeth, he immediately dismissed her – accidentally overhearing this conversation upset Elizabeth. To make sure that Jane and Mr. Bingley spent more time together, Mrs. Bennet sent her daughter to Bingley on horseback on a rainy day; as expected, Jane got sick from the rain and had to stay at Bingley’s house overnight. Later that day, Elizabeth (Lizzy) paid her sister a visit and met Mr. Darcy for the second time; he was low-key impressed with Elizabeth after getting to know her better – she was free-spirited girl who enjoyed reading and had strong opinions of her own.
After a few days, Mr. Bennet’s cousin arrived in town with the intention of marrying one of the Bennet girls to inherit their house. Even though marrying cousins was common in England and some other cultures at that time, I find it inappropriate when it appears in stories. I’m glad this practice is no longer prevalent.
Since Jane was unavailable, Collins pursued Elizabeth instead. However, Lizzy promptly rejected him with Mr. Bennet’s support. It was a bold move for a girl in the 18th century to turn down a proposal. In their chaotic household, Mr. Bennet and Elizabeth were outcasts who shared a unique father-daughter dynamic.
The Bennet girls met Lieutenant Wickham, a charming soldier who gained Lizzy’s sympathy by telling her how Mr. Darcy had wrongfully denied him his inheritance. This only worsened Lizzy’s impression of Darcy. To clear things up, she confronted him at the Netherfield ball but failed to get his side of the story. Meanwhile, Mr. Bingley left for London with no indication of returning and Lizzy’s friend Charlotte got engaged to Mr. Collins to avoid being a spinster. Suspecting that Caroline (Bingley’s sister) was behind Mr. Bingley’s sudden change of heart, Lizzy urged Jane to go to their uncle’s house in London and meet with him there.
Many months later, Lizzy visited her friend Charlotte and her husband, Mr. Collins, who lived on Lady Catherine de Bough’s estate. During this visit, Elizabeth coincidentally ran into Mr. Darcy again. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy’s cousin, told Elizabeth about Darcy’s role in causing Mr. Bingley to leave town due to concerns over the Bennet family’s lack of propriety. Unaware of this conversation between Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy proposed to a shocked and distressed Elizabeth that same day.
However, his proposal ended up sounding like he was boasting about his own superiority while expressing his inability to resist his feelings for someone from an unsuitable family background – which only added insult to injury for poor Lizzy!
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 confronted him about his role in breaking up Bingley and Jane’s relationship. According to Darcy, Jane appeared less sincere towards the relationship and didn’t leave a good impression. In response, Lizzy confirmed her sister’s shyness in expressing love. The sexual tension between Lizzy and Darcy was intense during this scene. Even though they were still attracted to each other after the rejection, they did not act on it due to their strong sense of morality.
She asked about Lieutenant Wickham, but he didn’t answer and left. Darcy later left a letter for Elizabeth explaining his side of the story. He revealed how Wickham was loved by his father, wished to spend all the riches without taking responsibility after Darcy’s father’s death, and attempted to elope with his 15-year-old sister Georgiana in hopes of inheriting the property. The Bennet sisters returned home. On a visit to Darcy’s estate with her uncle and aunt, Elizabeth met him again. This time, he seemed much more polite, and his sister happily told Elizabeth how much her brother admired her.
Elizabeth received news that her sister Lydia had eloped with Lt. Wickham and shared it with her uncle and Mr. Darcy. After a few days, Lydia returned home and revealed how Mr. Darcy had actively helped them get married. Later, Mr. Bingley proposed to Jane for marriage upon his return.
Lady Catherine visited Elizabeth to forbid her from accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal as he was already spoken for by her daughter. However, Elizabeth disagreed since she was moved by Mr. Darcy’s recent acts of generosity.
Restless that night, Elizabeth couldn’t sleep and saw distraught Darcy walking towards her house at dawn the next day. He apologized for his aunt’s behavior and expressed his love once more, stating everything he did was for her; however if she rejected him again, he wouldn’t bother her anymore.
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 important to me. Darcy took Elizabeth’s affirmation seriously and made an effort to repair his friend’s relationship with Jane. He did everything he could to prevent the Bennet family from being disgraced after Lydia eloped. He redeemed himself while still respecting her freedom of choice. This time, Elizabeth accepted him and convinced her father about the marriage. The movie concludes with Darcy and Elizabeth enjoying a lovely evening at Darcy estate, embracing each other with a kiss of love.
In today’s world, with advanced technology, we are almost always connected. We can visit our partners who live halfway across the world in just a few hours. Chatting and video calling apps fill any remaining communication gaps. However, despite these amazing tools at our disposal, emotional intimacy and trust – the foundations of any real relationship – often remain lacking. Pride and Prejudice is a fictional story that reminds us to be free-spirited like Lizzy or kind and compassionate like Darcy. Although humans aren’t perfect, we can still take steps to improve ourselves for both our own benefit and the benefit of those we love dearly.
The plot of the 2005 adaptation doesn’t strictly follow the novel (I read it too!), but it’s a great movie to watch. I loved the background scores and countryside scenes where they filmed. Keira Knightley as Elizabeth and Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy portrayed their slow-burn romance beautifully. Pride and Prejudice (2005) is an aesthetically pleasing romantic drama that you can watch again and again.
Thanks for reading! My handpicked recommendation for the dear readers.
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