BY CLAIRE WARD-BEVERIDGE
DATE RELEASED: November 11, 2005
DATE WATCHED: November 25, 2012
WHY NOW? I was browsing through the shelves at my local library and saw the DVD just sitting there, staring at me. So that, coupled with the imminence of Joe Wright’s new adaptation of Anna Karenina. Plus, I’d recently seen and enjoyed Never Let Me Go and Atonement and figured ol’ Keira deserved a bit more consideration [see next paragraph]. Lastly, I am a massive sucker for lush, epic, English period pieces.
WHY NOT THEN? I distinctly remember seeing an ad for the film in a newspaper around the time of its release and rolling my eyes thinking, “Keira Knightley in THAT adaptation? Really?” as I’ve never been much of a fan of hers. I had only seen her in such trite things as Domino, Love, Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean and denominated her talents as such.
- Early 19th century high-drama, swathed in lush, golden-hued, pastoral settings.
- A gorgeous, stirring soundtrack.
- That my feelings towards Ms. Knightley as a leading lady would change for the better, even if only slightly.
- That I would have a reasonably enjoyable time viewing this film–slightly wine-drunk and sleepy from a long day at the office.
- An intensely histrionic lover’s quarrel in the rain, complete with gorgeously rain-logged, slightly-dusty frocks and furrowed, handsome, dripping brows.
- A cameo or two from a few UK acting greats.
WHAT I ACTUALLY GOT…
- Donald Sutherland (!!!) looking perma-hungover, but ever-wise and just rugged enough for a Ralph Lauren ad.
- A usually capable Brenda Blethyn, going a little over the top in the freak-out department.
- Several jaw-dropping, Russian Ark-esque tracking shots of interiors. Seriously impressive.
- I was not expecting to feel this way in the LEAST, but nearly every scene with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy was engaging, spirited and involved–much of these aspects owing to the talents of ol’ Keira, it seemed.
ONE NIGHT-IN STAND OR SECOND DATE POTENTIAL?
As surprised as I was that I mostly enjoyed Joe Wright’s adaptation, it was still too long–I know, it was a bloody six episode series at one point–but it still lagged during many points. Knightley was rather fun to watch, but there was so much SILLINESS during, in and around the scenes with the sisters and mother–all tearing around their estate shrieking with joy or despair–it got a little tiring after a while. Still, after seeing this and the deftly executed melodrama of Atonement, I have a feeling that Joe Wright’s upcoming feature, starring his skeletal muse, won’t disappoint.
If you liked this post, you might also like: