Pride & Prejudice 2003 Movie Review

I really feel they should put a better title on this movie. It doesn't say anything about being set in modern times - but it most definitely is. Not only that, but it's set in Salt Lake City, Utah. It's a very funny movie, but it's not an actual adaptation of the book :)

In this version, Elizabeth Bennett is a blonde writer going to school at BYU. Jane is her Argentinian roommate. Lydia, Kitty and Mary are all in the story too, retaining their general characteristics. The Bingleys are a rich pair who breeze into town, along of course with Darcy, who owns a publishing firm.

There are parts of the movie that I love - and others that really bug me a lot. For example, Lydia and Kitty maliciously do various things to try to muscle in on Jane and Elizabeth's beaus. That's completely against the "regular" storyline, where the family was generally supportive and helpful. That's what made some of the scenes so poignant, that Lizzie loved her family dearly even as they embarassed her.

On the other hand, though, when Mary is making a fool of herself musically, it's Lizzie who gets up on stage and rescues her, not the father. So they make an effort to show more of Lizzie's tender side. They also introduce Wickham right at the beginning, as a long term friend of Lizzie's. That strikes me better than having Lizzie start getting friendly with a guy her sisters are already interested in.

There are no parents at all in this story - the kids are all on their own completely. Parents are, if anything, a nebulous "expectation generator" somewhere offstage. I really felt sad at that too, because the father and mother are such meaningful characters in the story. It's as if they made this story for teens who didn't want to deal with parents any more. In the original story, the parents, aunts and uncles all played important roles. In this one, not even Collins is related any more.

Other changes were made that I didn't agree with. Collins publicly humiliates Elizabeth, which is *extremely* ungentlemanly and quite against his character. Darcy had nothing to do really with dragging Bingley away from Jane! Caroline explicitly lied to Elizabeth about being engaged to Darcy? They were changes that weren't necessary, and that turned characters into "black" or "white" - it lost a great deal of the gorgeous character depth in the story.

On the other hand, there were several scenes where I laughed out loud. The little scene-titles that introduce sections of the story are often hilarious. There are a ton of subtle references to the original story. This can be a downfall, though. People who know the story well laugh right away at certain circumstances, understanding the meaning. If you hadn't read the book, you miss those items and the movie seems far more shallow because of it.

A film for occasional watching, but not one to treasure like other versions of Price & Prejudice that exist.

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