Thursday, November 3, 2011

proposals gone wrong: the one and only

At laaaaaaaaaaaaaast! My looooooooove has come along! That's right, it's time for THE BIG ONE. The final proposal gone wrong. The Mount Everest of ALL CAPS FEELINGS. The proposal everyone thinks of whenever they hear "proposal gone wrong," yes (YES!), it's time for Pride & Prejudice. Fair warning: this will be the longest. post. ever. Because we are covering both the 1995 and the 2005 version! BECAUSE IT'S ELIZABETH BENNET AND FITZWILLIAM DARCY!
(x)
Since we're looking at two very different interpretations, let's start with an excerpt from the book (Chapter 34):
Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of all that he felt and had long felt for her immediately followed. He spoke well, but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed, and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority -- of its being a degradation -- of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.
In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger. She tried, however, to compose herself to answer him with patience, when he should have done. He concluded with representing to her the strength of attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. 
The 1995 version captures this perfectly. The 2005 version... takes (several thousand) liberties. Both are splendid, have me on the edge of my seat, and, of course, are scenes I'd like to live in.

Let's get one thing straight. Every time someone says they can't "sit through" the 1995 version, a devil gets his horns. It's just the most wicked thing you could ever to say to me. I ask you, what self respecting Austen fan could ever say that watching Colin Firth for 5 hours as Mr. Darcy is a trial?!?! If someone ever tells me this, I have free license to ignore everything they say for all eternity. This version is incredibly loyal to Jane Austen's masterpiece. Colin Firth and Elizabeth Ehle are the perfectly cast and the two of them on screen together is absolutely intoxicating. I can't even deal! In my humble opinion, Colin Firth captures the arrogant air of Darcy in the excerpt above flawlessly. He's terribly uncomfortable, but also confident, brazen, incredulous, angry... and deliciously handsome! Then again, his Darcy is my longest running fictional boyfriend after Gilbert Blythe i.e. I've been in love with him over half my life and I just have a lot of FEELINGS, ok?! And I don't need a scene thrown into a rainstorm because I'm drowning in his melt-in-your-mouth chocolate eyes as it is! And would you look at his glower! Ugh!

Darcy: In vain I have struggled, it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.
AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHIUIGHIOFISDOFJOWLFKJD!!!!!!!!! I WILL ALLOW YOU!
Darcy: In declaring myself thus I am fully aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and, I hardly need add, my own better judgment. The relative situation of our families is such that an alliance between us must be regarded as a highly reprehensible connection.
Y'ALL. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT BACK IN THESE DAYS, THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED A COMPLIMENT. UNTIL HE USED THE WORD "REPREHENSIBLE." AND HE SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID HE WAS GOING AGAINST HIS BETTER JUDGMENT. OH, DARCY, YOU'RE SO WONDERFULLY HUMAN AND FLAWED!
Darcy: Indeed as a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself, but it cannot be helped. Almost from the earliest moments of our acquaintance I have come to feel for you a passionate admiration and regard,
HE SAID PASSIONATE! WAAAAAAAAAAAASSAWASSAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Darcy: -which despite all my struggles has overcome every rational objection. And I beg you, most fervently, to end my suffering and consent to be my wife.
AIN'T TOO PROUD TO BEG! (I HAD TO)
Elizabeth: In such cases as these, I believe the established mode is to express a sense of obligation. But I cannot.
NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! *REWIND* NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *REWIND* NOOOO!!!!!!!!!! *REWIND* GOSH DARN IT! THIS KEEPS HAPPENING THE SAME WAY!
Elizabeth: I have never desired your good opinion and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly.
DON'T DO IT, LIZZIE! WE'RE BFFS! I WANT TO BE CLOSE TO HIM 4-EVS!
Elizabeth: I'm sorry to cause pain to anyone, but it was most unconsciously done and I hope will be of short duration.
*GAZING DOWN AT THE REMNANTS OF MY BROKEN HEART*
Darcy: And this is all the reply I am to expect? I might wonder why with so little effort at civility I am rejected.
DARCYYYYYY!
Elizabeth: And I might wonder why with so evident a design to offend and insult me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character. Was this not some excuse for incivility if I was uncivil?
STOP MAKING ME SIDE WITH YOU!
Elizabeth: I have every reason in the world to think ill of you.
STOP MAKING ME DISAGREE WITH YOU!
Elizabeth: Do you think any consideration would tempt me to accept the man who has been the means of ruining the happiness of a most beloved sister? Can you deny that you have done it.

OMGZ JUST DENY IT, DARCY!
Darcy: I have no wish to deny it. I did everything in my power to separate my friend from your sister and I rejoice in my success. Towards him I have been kinder than towards myself.
NO!!! WELP... AT LEAST HE'S HONEST!
Elizabeth: But it is not merely that on which my dislike of you is founded. 

HAND OVER THE MOUTH! HAND OVER THE MOUTH!
Elizabeth: Long before it had taken place, my dislike of you was decided when I heard Mr. Wickham's story of your dealings with him. How can you defend yourself on that subject?
I AM JUDGING YOU, ELIZABETH!
Darcy: You take an eager interest in that gentleman's concerns.
YOUR JEALOUS FACE IS SUCH A PRETTY FACE.
Elizabeth: Who that knows what his misfortunes have been can help feeling an interest in him?
ME.
Darcy: His misfortunes! Yes his misfortunes have been great indeed!
TELL HER!!!
Elizabeth: And of your infliction. You have reduced him to his present state of poverty and yet you can treat his misfortunes with contempt and ridicule.
TELL HER, DARCY!!!
Darcy: And this is your opinion of me? My faults by this calculation are heavy indeed. But perhaps these offenses might have been overlooked had not your pride been hurt by the honest confession of the scruples which had long prevented my forming any serious design on you; had I concealed my struggles and flattered you.
BURRRN!
Darcy: But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related, they were natural and just. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections? To congratulate myself on the hope of relations whose condition in life is so decidedly below my own.
OH... ZUT... BUT LOOK HOW DELIGHTFULLY ARROGANT! THIS IS JUST HOW DARCY OUGHT TO BE AT THIS POINT!
Elizabeth: You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy. The mode of your declaration merely spared me any concern I might have felt in refusing you had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.
DAYUMMMMM!!!!!!! VERBATIM FROM THE BOOK IS BEST, Y'ALL, BECAUSE THIS LINE WINS ALL THE ZING AWARDS!
Elizabeth: You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.
EXCEPT MAYBE IF YOU HAD JUST STEPPED OUT OF THE LAKE, DRIPPING WET IN YOUR UNDERSHIRT!
Elizabeth: From the very beginning, your manners impressed me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain for the feelings of others.
POOP. ON. TOAST.
Elizabeth: I had not known you a month before I felt you were the last man in the world whom I could I ever marry.
WOULD THIS BE A BAD TIME TO BRING UP MR. COLLINS?
Darcy: You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly comprehend your feelings. And now have only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Please forgive me for having taken up your time and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness.
UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH TO ALL OF THE ABOVE.


When I read the book, this is exactly what I envision. But I guess other people read "Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantle-piece with his eyes fixed on her face" and see them quarreling in a Grecian temple. This is not a critique, per se, but it is rather funny. We'll put it outside! In a temple! In the rain! And use thunder to highlight the really important bits! And they'll almost kiss! The 2005 version of this scene is like Jane Austen on crack. But I've got to admit... I'm addicted!

Darcy: Miss Elizabeth.
MR. DARCY!
Darcy: I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer.
*SHAKES FIST AT SCREENWRITERS* WHYYY WOULD YOU EVER CHANGE THIS LINE?!?!
Darcy: These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you. I had to see you.
SLOW DOWN, BUDDY, YOU ONLY PROPOSE ONCE! OH WAIT...
Darcy: I have fought against my better judgment, my family's expectation, the inferiority of your birth, my rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.
OH HAI WORD VOMIT.
Elizabeth: I don't understand.
*FACE-PALM*
 
Darcy: I love you. Most ardently.
YEAH YOU DO!
Darcy: Please do me the honor of accepting my hand.
DERRRRR!!!
Elizabeth: Sir I- I appreciate the struggle you have been through and I'm very sorry to have caused you pain. Believe me, it was unconsciously done.
THIS IS QUITE POLITE OF YOU, LIZZIE...
Darcy: Is this your reply?
OOO BUDDY.
Elizabeth: Yes, sir.
NO, SIR.
Darcy: Are- are you laughing at me.
DARCY IS NOT TO BE TEASED!
Elizabeth: No.
KIND OF.
Darcy: Are you rejecting me?
FEISTY!!!
Elizabeth: I'm sure that the feelings, which as you've told me, had hindered your regard will help you in overcoming it.
YIKESABEE!
Darcy: Might I ask why, with so little endeavor at civility, I am thus repulsed?
YOU ASKED FOR IT!
Elizabeth: And I might as well inquire why, with so evident a design of insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your better judgment.
LADY FRIEND HAS A VALID POINT, SIR!
Darcy: No, believe me, I didn't mean-
YOU ARE SO PRETTY.
Elizabeth: If I was uncivil, then that is some excuse, but I have other reasons. You know I have.
YOU ARE SO RIGHT! YOU ARE SO WRONG!
Darcy: What reasons?
BRACE YOURSELF.
Elizabeth: Do you think anything would tempt me to accept the man who has ruined, perhaps forever, of a most beloved sister.
AH SHIZZ.
Elizabeth: Do you deny it, Mr. Darcy? That you separated a young couple who loved each other, exposing your friend to the world for caprice and my sister to derision for disappointed hopes, and involving them both in misery of the acutest kind?
Darcy: I do not deny it.
GAH.
Elizabeth: How could you do it?
Darcy: Because I believed your sister indifferent to him.
Elizabeth: Indifferent?
Darcy: I watched them most carefully and realized his attachment was deeper than hers.
Elizabeth: That's because she's shy!
Darcy: Bingley too was modest and decided that she didn't feel strongly for him.
Elizabeth: Because you suggested it!
Darcy: I did it for his own good.
Elizabeth: My sister hardly shows her true feelings to me!
DUN DUN DUN!
Elizabeth: I suppose you suspected his fortune had some bearing on the matter?
Darcy: No! I wouldn't do your sister the dishonor. Though it was suggested-
Elizabeth: What was?
Darcy: It was made perfectly clear that an advantageous marriage-
Elizabeth: Did my sister give that impression?
Darcy: No! No. No, there was however, I have to admit, the matter of your family.
FOOLISH. D-A-R-C-Y. FOOLISH.
Elizabeth: Our want of connection? Mr. Bingley didn't seem to vex himself about that.
Darcy: No, it was more than that.
Elizabeth: How, sir?
Darcy: It was the lack of propriety shown by your mother, your three younger sisters, even on occasion your father!
BOOM! THE THUNDER RIGHT THERE IS RIDONCULOUSLY GOOD!
Darcy: Forgive me. You and your sister I must exclude from this.
AW.
Elizabeth: And what about Mr. Wickham?
GIRRRLLLLLL.
Darcy: Mr. Wickham?
OOO!
Elizabeth: What excuse can you give for your- your behavior towards him?
Darcy: You take an eager interest in that gentleman's concerns.
WHAT'S THIS?! A LINE STRAIGHT FROM THE BOOK?!
Elizabeth: He told me of his misfortunes.
Darcy: Oh yes, his misfortunes have been very great indeed.
Elizabeth: You ruined his chances and yet you treat him with sarcasm.
Darcy: So this is your opinion of me?
THIS LIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!!!!!
Darcy: Thank you for explaining so fully! Perhaps this offenses might have been overlooked had not your pride-
Elizabeth: My pride?!
*SNORT*
Darcy: -been hurt by my honesty in admitting scruples about our relationship. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your circumstances?
:X
Elizabeth: And those are the words of a gentleman? From the first moment I met you your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry. 
THESE ARE REAL LIFE FEELINGS, ELIZABETH, HANDLE WITH CARE!
*the almost kiss*
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW THIS IS PRIDE & PREJUDICE ON STEROIDS, BUT I'M TOO FAR GONE TO CARE!
Darcy: Forgive me, madam, for taking up so much of your time.
UGHHHHHHH. 

Macfadyen's Darcy is fantastic as well; he's recently come into money and he's crazy socially awkward. He's a bit more of an observer and he sees potential in their relationship. But he planned out what he was going to say and blazed through it without breathing or thinking twice about mentioning his feelings for her beyond "I love you... most ardently." Which, hey, I would love to hear, but it's quite evident that she has no idea where this is coming from. But he's just full steam ahead, making their nickname for this scene, "the car crash," terribly fitting. I won't lie to you, especially since I don't want you to think that I don't like this version (because OMGZ I LOVE IT), but I used to tell people this was my favorite movie scene of all time.

No matter which version you prefer, one thing's for sure, THIS IS THE GREATEST LOVE STORY OF ALL TIME! Not that I'm biased or anything. I love the misunderstandings on both sides, I love how they have a connection but they're just not at the point where they understand each other yet, I love how they don't deserve each other at this moment, I love how it's memorable because it's terrible. And I love how spicy things get between the characters in both of these scenes even though their chemistry is so different; Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle's is on fire from the start while Matthew Macfadyen and Kiera Knightley's is slow burning. I love them both! But despite how much Matthew Macfadyen's Darcy has won me over, Colin Firth's Darcy will always have my heart because of THE LOOK. What about you? I've simply got to know!

2 comments:

  1. I'll just go ahead and tell you, that I DO ARDENTLY LOVE AND ADMIRE Colin Firth's portrayal of Mr. Darcy (OMGZ the lake, THE LAKE and the brooding), but Matthew MacFayden has STOLEN.MY.HEART. "So this is your opinion of me." GAH. I die EVERY TIME. I don't care how many liberties they took with this movie (in all honesty it is a film, not a miniseries, so there's no way in hell they could've fit everything in).
    I'm going to watch this. RIGHT NOW. right now.

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  2. I can honesty say the BBC version with Colin Firth is still my favorite in Pride and Prejudice. But Matthew Macfadyen is in a very close second. I know with Hollywood they do not have five hours to really go into the awesome detail like the BBC in explaining the wit and humor of the book. Ahh but I really do love Lady Catherine in the BBC version when she can not have her way!

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