MOVIE: Pride & Prejudice (2005)

I’d been resisting watching this movie ever since it came out because, frankly, why bother watching a new two-hour version, when I can just watch the four-hour 1995 version I already love soooooo much and have seen at least a bazillion times?

Though this newer version has its moments — it’s got lovely scenery and colors, and I did enjoy Keira Knightley as Elizabeth as well as Judi Dench as the insufferable Lady Catherine — my final review of it can be boiled down into a simple phrase:

Matthew McFayden is no Colin Firth.

And that, my friends, pretty much says it all.

I suspect the way these two versions compete is thus: whichever one you saw first is the one you love most. And so, if you’ve never seen the 1995 version, complete with Colin’s famous wet shirt scene (hubba hubba!), you’ll probably enjoy this version well enough. In fact, you might even swoon for it. But those of us whose first onscreen Darcy was Firth’s will never be able to relax into McFayden’s version fully. There’s just really no comparison whatsoever. So, for me, this version was only okay — it’s watchable, but it doesn’t achieve the same level of greatness as the version that was my first.

Glad I saw it — never need to bother with it again. Now, where are my 1995 version DVDs. . . ?

[Netflix me | Buy me]

[Netflix the better version | Buy the better version]

Genre: Romance

Cast: Keira Knightley, Matthew McFayden, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Jean Malone, Judi Dench, Rupert Friend

Tags: ,

18 Responses to “MOVIE: Pride & Prejudice (2005)”

  1. Cheesepuppet Says:


    [insert look of pure agony here]

    I am SO IN LOVE with the 2005 version, and I did see the 1995 version (have it on DVD and used to watch it obsessively), but after seeing the 2005 version, I’m completely hooked on that one now and practically want to give away my 1995 version (want it? I can send it with the t-shirt).

    I thought McFayden’s version of Darcy was so much more thoughtful, intense, subtle, multilayered. I’ll just stop now! Ahhh! I just adore him!

  2. megwood Says:

    Happily, this means we each get our own Darcy and don’t have to share, and, frankly, what could be better than THAT? So, you keep Matthew McSulky, and I’ll take Colin McDeliciousness. And also yes, I’d love to have your 1995 version!! Yay — you just made my day! 🙂

  3. alisa Says:

    I adore this movie as well. I thought Matthew played the perfect Darcy.

    If I’m to be totally honest I love basically every movie in this genre. I love, love Sense & Sensibility w/Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, and Hugh Grant.

    Have you seen The Way We Live Now with Cillan Murphy, David Suchet (Hercule Poirot), and Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle)

    Alisa 🙂

  4. Eva Says:

    Anything Cillian Murphy is in has automatically got to be good.

    re: Pr&Prej, I only saw the ’05. I liked it, though I am a little less enamoured of Austen than most. I like Sense& Sensibility, though I think Hugh Grant is woefully miscast as a good guy. Caddishness just seeps from his pores.

    I’ve heard only good about Pride&Firth, so I will have to check that out eventually.

    What’s that one where the girl lets herself be talked about of love and then years later they’ve both waited for each other and they end up together at the tail end? (Or is that the plot of all of them? I’m talking about the one Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves were always going on about in that one movie where they were in love across time.)


  5. Lorraine Says:

    The Austen story where the woman is dissuaded from marrying and then encounters the man 10 yrs later is called “Persuasion”. The 1995 version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root is wonderful – highly recommended. It is my favorite Austen adaptation.

    I enjoy every movie in this genre also. I obsessed about the 1995 P&P when it came out but I’m over it now. I find the wigs and the push-up bras too distracting. I prefer Firth in Bridget Jones – he is a bit too fussy as Darcy.

    For anyone who loves these movies, I recommend 2004 “North & South” with Richard Armitage. My personal favorite is 1983’s “Jane Eyre” with Timothy Dalton.

  6. megwood Says:

    For the record, Bridget Jones fans, there would’ve BEEN no Colin Firth in Bridget Jones were it not for his Darcy. So, enough harshing on MY FAVORITE DARCY, already! Sheesh!!

    I second “Persuasion” with Ciaran Hinds (who is oddly gorgeous for a man you would probably never think was gorgeous at first glance — I liked him in “Weight of Water” too), and also “North & South.” Actually, all you guys commenting who haven’t seen “North & South” should rent that one next (I think it’s also available for Watch Now instant viewing on Netflix these days, by the way). I think you’ll like it.

    Timothy Dalton?! Call me intrigued! I’m off to Netflix to hunt down that version of “Jane Eyre” as I think the only one I ever saw was the one with William “PermaEmotiveFace” Hurt.

  7. alisa Says:

    The only version I’ve seen of Jane Eyre is the one w/Ciaran Hinds and Samantha Morton.

  8. Eva Says:

    Ah, yes, Persuasion. Thanks. I watched it earlier this year; I had it in my head that Rufus Sewell was in it, so I was extremely put out when he wasn’t. 🙂 But I liked it anyway. Good little film.

    I also recall liking Emma when I watched it.

    As for similar films, how about Middlemarch (long and has its share of boring parts, but it was the breakout role for Rufus); Tess of the D’Urbervilles (depressing as heck, and my honey Jason Flemyng is scary and icky, but the romance between Tess and the blonde guy is nice); or The Woodlanders (based on a Thomas Hardy novel, so it’s depressing, but it’s got Rufus. Do you sense a theme?)

  9. megwood Says:

    If you’re going to do a depressing Thomas Hardy movie, allow me to also recommend “Jude,” starring ex-Boyfriends Christopher Eccleston and Liam Cunningham, as well as Kate Winslet.

    It’ll kinda make you want to kill yourself, but that’s sort of Thomas Hardy in a nutshell anyway, right? 🙂

    I’ll have to look for “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” with Jason Flemyng. I haven’t seen that one!

    I love all the comments this post is getting. We need to chat more like this, ladies.

  10. Lorraine Says:

    “Jane Eyre” with Hinds and Morton is very passionate, if sometimes a little over the top. But, I do enjoy it. It’s probably my second favorite adaptation of “Jane Eyre” after the 1983 version. I think Zelah Clarke is the perfect adult Jane. Meg – what a perfect description of Ciaran Hinds – “oddly gorgeous”. And William Hurt – there’s always something annoying about him.

    Rufus Sewell – I fell in love with him in Middlemarch. “The Woodlanders” – boy that WAS depressing. I recommend “Amazing Grace” which has almost every British actor and beautiful cinematography.

    If you like Jason Flemyng, you have to see the first season of “Doctor Finlay”. He’s very good in that and it stars David Rintoul who is my first and favorite Fitzwilliam Darcy (1980).

  11. alisa Says:

    Another great movie is The Magnificent Ambersons w/Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Of course his character in the movie is slimy to say the least. He’s sexy, but he plays creepy and lecherous wayyyyy to well. His character has this creepy, almost incestuous love for his mother.

    And I have to say that I didn’t think that Jennifer Tilly could act all that well until I saw this movie.

  12. Eva Says:

    EccelstonEccelstonEccelston!!! (It just has to be yelled.) I *heart* his Dr. Who forever.

    Be forewarned, Jason is extremely creepy, in a not-good way, in “Tess.”

    There’s always Rufus. He just smolders. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing good or bad or what, he’s just untouchable in his smolderingness.

  13. megwood Says:

    Unfortunately, I’m no fan of Rufus Sewell’s. I think he’s really really creepy looking. Something about his eyes gives me the screaming heebie jeebies. So, I’m passin’ on all those, I’m afraid! 🙂

  14. Lorraine Says:

    Eva – I recently watched Rufus in “Shakespeare ReTold – The Taming of the Shrew”. It is rather wacky but a MUST if you like Rufus! It may the be most modern story that I’ve seen him in. It’s available on Netflix.

    For you, MacFadyen and Liam Cunningham fans, I recommend some minis by Stephen Poliakoff (a really interesting Brit director). Matt is in “Perfect Strangers”, also with Toby Stephens. Liam is in “Shooting the Past”. (Both also star Lindsay Duncan who is vg in everything she does.) Then there’s “Friends & Crocodiles” with Damian Lewis. It’s easy to get hooked on Poliakoff.

  15. Lorraine Says:

    Eva – I recently watched Rufus in “Shakespeare ReTold – The Taming of the Shrew”. It is rather wacky but a MUST if you like Rufus! It may the be most modern story that I’ve seen him in. It’s available on Netflix.

    For you, MacFadyen and Liam Cunningham fans, I recommend some minis by Stephen Poliakoff (a really interesting Brit director). Matt is in “Perfect Strangers”, also with Toby Stephens. Liam is in “Shooting the Past”. (Both also star Lindsay Duncan who is vg in everything she does.) Then there’s “Friends & Crocodiles” with Damian Lewis. It’s easy to get hooked on Poliakoff.

  16. Lorraine Says:

    Sorry about the double posting. I got a funny web error which said to hit Refresh. When I did, it must have resent my post.

  17. Eva Says:

    thanks for rufus intel, lorraine!!

    no prob on rufus, meg. more for me. 🙂

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