At the end, director Wright wraps the whole thing up with a fairy-tale coda more Shakespearean than Austen-tine. Yet it all works.
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A movie for the age, and a keeper for the ages, Pride & Prejudice brings Jane Austen's best-loved novel to vivid, widescreen life, as well as making an undisputed star of 20-year-old Keira Knightley.
Of Austen's novels, none is more beloved than this one, so it's good to see it once again brought to the screen with the pride which it deserves.
Director Joe Wright coordinates a delightfully cohesive acting ensemble.
Most importantly, the director, script, and cast (rounded out by Judi Dench and well-placed imports Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone) all recognize that Austen is about much more than pretty costumes and knowing looks.
If only Knightley had a co-star equal to her here: The 1995 edition of Colin Firth, come to think of it, would have been perfect.
Keira Knightley, in a witty, vibrant, altogether superb performance, plays Lizzie's sparky, questing nature as a matter of the deepest personal sacrifice.
In the end, the finest achievement of Wright's movie is that it fully captures what Martin Amis, writing on Pride and Prejudice, said of Austen: "Money is a vital substance in her world; the moment you enter it you feel the frank horror of moneylessness, as intense as the tacit horror of spinsterhood." All that, and a great love story, too.
Romantic yearning hasn't looked this sexy onscreen in years.
There's something more REAL about this version, more human, more lived-in; though their words may have been penned 200 years ago, when Austen was a young woman writing about her idealized self, this cast and crew nudge the material into the now.