Pride & Prejudice

Film meets perfection.

Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice

By Edwin Miles

Love is very close to hate. You need one for the other to exist. To feel these strong emotions there needs to be motive. Elizabeth Bennett, from Pride & Prejudice, is a character that comes to terms with these simple rules about emotion. Throughout, she is constantly learning, not to say that she is an ignorant character, but one who may be naïve. Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth is brilliant. She gives hardness to her; she constantly learns and her motives change. She is of lower class but is never scared to fight her corner — in any witty way imaginable.

When Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy, there starts a complex relationship. This love story is more of a fight. One character has one motive and the other has the opposite. But all the while they constantly cross paths, with each meeting foreshadowing the impending doom of both their respective motives. The good thing about this love story is the motives. Motives that slowly crumble until the characters can take no more. One hates the other and one feels obliged not to love the other.

However, we as the audience are conscious of their true feelings. Of course they love each other — this is made clear through subtle glances, smiles or touches. The camera picks up on these subtleties brilliantly and keeps them hidden in a film that is shot with a sense of flamboyancy and grandeur. But the complexity doesn’t come from this but the inability for them to feel safe with one another. But just like love and hate, you need one for there to be the other. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, in some weird way, act similarly — as Elizabeth says, “we are actually very similar”.

Matthew Macfadyen in Pride and Prejudice

It is also a love story about a family. The dynamic between the varying sisters and with their odd-couple parents works like a fulcrum where the camera weaves in and out of their day-to-day lives. The father loves his daughters and wants what they want, whereas the mother can’t bare to see her daughters without respectful husbands to bring in an income. They bring humour and keep the daughters grounded so that they never get lost within the dream of romance.

The one problem with Pride & Prejudice is that it is very neatly packaged. And in result becoming overly sentimental. Whenever both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth meet, they meet in such a way that accentuates their natural handsomeness. Whether that is in a Gothic rain that glistens their skin or the morning sun silhouetting their bodies along a pastoral horizon. This all seems too perfect. But in many ways they are perfect. They fought for their love against unbelievable odds, so who am I to want to withheld any perfection from their lives?