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Jane Austen, Ahead of Her Time – The history of a revolutionary storyteller and a very private woman.
Behind the Scenes at the Ball – A behind-the-scenes look at this lavishly stunning new version of the classic romance
HBO First Look: Pride & Prejudice, A Classic in the Making – Complete with talent and filmmaker interviews, this feature takes an extensive look at the making of the film
Commentary from director Joe Wright
“One of the greatest love stories of all time, Pride & Prejudice, comes to the screen in a glorious new adaptation starring Keira Knightley. When Elizabeth Bennett (Knightley) meets the handsome Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen), she believes he is the last man on earth she could ever marry. But as their lives become intertwined in an unexpected adventure, she finds herself captivated by the very person she swore to loathe for all eternity. Based on the beloved masterpiece by Jane Austen, it is the classic tale of love and misunderstanding that sparkles with romance, wit and emotional force. Critics are calling it “Exhilarating. A joy from start to finish” (Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times).”
Pride & Prejudice is rated PG for some mild thematic elements.
This version of Pride & Prejudice is very well made. The costumes are terrific, the music is rousing, the locations are beautiful, and the acting is superb. This is the best work I’ve ever seen Kiera Knightley do. Rosamund Pike was also good as Jane Bennet (yes, even better than her role in Doom if you can believe it! /sarcasm). I was also quite impressed with Joe Wright’s direction. I’ve never seen a version of this story where the character’s expressions and slight movements communicated so much of their thoughts and feelings. Whether it’s a slight touch of the hand or the lost opportunity for a kiss, you get a lot through subtle, non-verbal communication.
Since my wife was the Jane Austen aficionado, I wanted to get her impression of this film. She said she enjoyed it. She said the A&E 9 hour mini series was better simply because it was more comprehensive, but it was still a very good adaptation. She also said this was the first version of the novel where she had seen Lizzie and Mr. Darcy kiss on screen. So there you have the female perspective.
There is a pretty good selection of bonus features. It starts with “A Bennet Family Portrait”. This featurette highlights each of the Bennet sisters and their parents. The actresses are also highlighted. Jane Austen’s inspiration for the characters is also discussed and the subject of marriage in this time period is heavily featured. The second featurette is entitled “Jane Austen, Ahead of Her Time”. It discusses the author and her very private life. They visit Austen historians and her real world home. More geared towards the making of the film is “Behind the Scenes at the Ball”. This covers the entire making of the movie. There are interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, and other goodness. Donald Sutherland fawns over the girls and we see them playing Sardines in the house that was the set for the film. Next up is the HBO First Look: Pride & Prejudice, A Classic in the Making. This features more behind the scenes footage and interviews. Finally there’s the commentary from director Joe Wright. He could have used some of the cast members to help him out, but he gets the job done.
Pride & Prejudice is obviously for Jane Austen fans and anyone that likes period dramas. Guys will probably have difficulty sitting through it, but watching the lovely Bennet ladies makes it a bit easier to endure.