Pride and Prejudice 1996 Movie Review

Many people name the 1996 A&E version of Pride & Prejudice as their favorite ever. I own all the versions of this story and it certainly is mine. This was a full miniseries - not just a movie - so they were able to fit in ALL sorts of sub-stories and characters that movies often had to trim away. Colin Firth was brilliant at Mr. Darcy. A&E worked with the BBC, so the costumes, locations and backgrounds were all extremely authentic.

Most of the lines are straight out of the book, again a luxury you can have when the mini-series gives you so much time to work with. They could include many different scenes, and many different situations, that a 2 hour movie would have to cut for time reasons.

I adore many parts of this miniseries. It's great to contrast Mr. Collins' list of reasons why he WILL mary Lizzie against Darcy's list of why he didn't WANT to marry her. Where the dad is shown as a quiet angel in many other versions, in this one he is shown to have his dark side too, in how he snipes at family members even when they're sad. The timing of Darcy coming to Lizzie to ask for her hand is *perfect* - she has just heard of his behavior with Jane, and she deliberately stayed home from dinner with him. You can really feel that she has been stewing all evening and he presents a perfect opportunity for her to lash out. The scene regarding Mr. Wickham at Pemberly is just great ... and the Collins visit after Lydia runs off is brilliant.

In this version, Lizzie never reveals to her family how Darcy helped with Lydia's situation; she simply asks them to accept him on her say-so. Also, there's no "reconcilement" early on between Lizzie and Darcy. During the various parties early on, they don't agree to be friendly at any time. It's just constant antagonism along with the attraction pull. I have to admit that I like the 1939 version of the early parties, where there is much more of a powerful attraction going on. Still, each version is going to be different.

If there's a part I'm not fond of, it's ironically something that is really in the book. It's when Lizzie is roaming through Darcy's home and makes a comment about "Jeez, I could have owned this if I'd just married him." It always strikes me as a little cheap and mercenary of her. I'm glad that other movies leave it out, although I understand that she's just being awed by her surroundings.

Highly recommended - set aside a rainy afternoon, get yourself some wine and cheese, and enjoy it straight through!

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