Thursday, March 29, 2012

the unexpected meeting: a contrast

I must admit that this week, my thoughts have been tending towards 'I hate men!!!' and 'Why, universe, whyyyy?!?!' The antidote, for me, is an easy one: Pride & Prejudice. I can turn to two characters who don't have their lives in order by any means (fictional characters- they're just like us!) and find hope and comfort. This duo just gives me a lot of FEELINGS and make the world look shiny.

One of my favorite scenes in Pride & Prejudice is when Elizabeth goes to visit Pemberley thinking Mr. Darcy won't be there only to find him turn up unexpectedly. I think I really have a soft spot for this part because, to me, it is the turning point in their relationship. After all, in chapter 43, when she's standing in front of his portrait in the gallery, it says, "There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth's mind, a more gentle sensation towards the original than she had ever felt in the height of their acquaintance." Lo and behold he walks up from the road when she's leaving the house with her aunt and uncle! The four of them then walk the extensive grounds together...
After walking some time in this way, the two ladies in front, the two gentlemen behind, on resuming their places, after descending to the brink of the river for the better inspection of some curious waterplant, there chanced to be a little alteration. It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, fatigued by the exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth's arm inadequate to her support, and consequently preferred her husband's. Mr. Darcy took her place by her niece, and they walked on together. After a short silence, the lady first spoke. She wished him to know that she had been assured of his absence before she came to the place, and accordingly began by observing, that his arrival had been very unexpected- "for your housekeeper," she added, "informed us that you would certainly not be here till to-morrow; and indeed, before we left Bakewell, we understood that you were not immediately expected in the country." He acknowledged the truth of it all, and said that his steward had occasioned his coming forward a few hours before the rest of the party with whom he had been travelling. "They will join me early to-morrow," he continued, "and among them are some who will claim acquaintance with you- Mr. Bingley and his sisters."
Elizabeth answered only by a slight bow. Her thoughts were instantly driven back to the time when Mr. Bingley's name had been last mentioned between them; and, if she might judge from his complexion, his mind was not very differently engaged. 
"There is also one other person in the party," he continued after a pause, "who more particularly wishes to be known to you. Will you allow me, or do I ask too much, to introduce my sister to your acquaintance during your stay at Lambton?"
 The surprise of such an application was great indeed; it was too great for her to know in what manner she acceded to it. She immediately felt that whatever desire Miss Darcy might have of being acquainted with her must be the work of her brother, and, without looking farther, it was satisfactory; it was gratifying to know that his resentment had not made him think really ill of her. 
They now walked on in silence, each of them deep in thought. Elizabeth was not comfortable; that was impossible; but she was flattered and pleased. His wish of introducing his sister to her was a compliment of the highest kind. They soon outstripped the others, and when they had reached the carriage, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were half a quarter of a mile behind.
He then asked her to walk into the house- but she declared herself not tired, and they stood together on the lawn. At such a time much might have been said, and silence was very awkward. She wanted to talk, but there seemed an embargo on every subject.
And now we turn to the two oh so swoon-worthy adaptations from 1995 and 2005...

  • All four characters are out on the Pemberley grounds just like it was written. I love faithful adaptations! They are such rare gems! 
  • Okay, okay, it's not entirely faithful because Mr. Darcy walks next to Elizabeth right from the start. But it's Mr. Darcy!!! And I'm thrilled!
  • I love how they both start speaking at the same time!
  • Colin Firth in hunter green. That is all.
  • When his voice goes hoarse mentioning Mr. Bingley... Oh my gosh, y'all. It's just too perfect!
  • The way he fumbles through the invitation to meet his sister... Flawless. And, pardonnez-moi, but the look he gives her when she says she'd like to meet her! *melts*
  • I do appreciate how Jennifer Ehle's trying to hold back her emotions, but at the same time, I'd like to see a little more of heart-meltage going on on her side during the actual walk.
  • There's just something about the music and the scenes of them meandering through the woods... It gives you such a sense of how much time they're spending there within the confines of a short scene.
  • The bow! "Good day,  Miss Bennet." I'm sorry, but don't you mean "Dearest, loveliest Elizabeth"?!
  • WHEN SHE TURNS BACK TO LOOK AT HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!! This is one of my all time favorite moments in the entire miniseries. Because you know she's sold now! So good!!!

  • Well, this isn't exactly in the selection I chose from the book anyway, but this is not supposed to be the first time Elizabeth sees Georgiana. Grrr!!!
  • However, had that actually happened in the book, that certainly would have been Elizabeth's reaction. So I can appreciate that the screenwriters understand her character outside of the actual canon. 
  • I loooooove how awkward their dialogue is. It's so genuine to the Darcy/Elizabeth relationship.
  • But this scene combines the first moment she sees him at Pemberley and when he rejoins her and her aunt and uncle outside. Obviously, the aunt and uncle are missing here, but apart from that, it's just one of my favorite scenes from the book and I'd like to see them spend a little (lot) more time on this sequence of events.
  • Awkward silence much? It's perfect.
  • Just like Jennifer Ehle, I wish Kiera Knightley showed more of that change in perception of Mr. Darcy rather than being so heavy on the "ahhhh you caught me!"
  • Basically, this is not at all what happened. But I just like to look at it and... *le sigh*
  • "Yes! Yes, I know." Oh Matthew Macfadyen, you beautiful creature.
Obviously there are things miniseries can do that movies can't and vice versa. I love that they 1995 version folds in little details to make it more true to the original text. And I love how the 2005 version captures the awkwardness of the moment. Combine the two together and I think you'd get exactly what Jane Austen intended! I love both equally and in their own way! That might sound like a cop out, but it's the truth... Okay, okay, so if you cornered me in a dark alley and threatened me with brass knuckles, I'd pick the 1995 version. Because it's more accurate and no matter how many times I have a fainting fit induced by a glance from Matthew Macfadyen, Colin Firth will always be my Darcy. But that's getting into an entirely different argument that we'll save for another day!


  1. As much as I love Colin Firth, Matthew will always be my Darcy. Perhaps because, this is totally crazy but true, I had never seen the 1995 version until I was in college. Whilst I can still remember sitting in the theatre after seeing the newer version in stunned silence over the music and locations and HELLO MATTHEW MACFADYEN.

    1. Oh yeah, the music and cinematography is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better in the 2005 version. I just sit there crying because it's so beautiful. Honestly! And, trust me, I do love Macfadyen's soft spoken Darcy... ughhhhdklsfslkfsl!!!!!

  2. Well since I rented the 1995 version ummm about five different times it is still my favorite. Matthew Macfadyen is most certainly a amazing Mr Darcy and a tall drink of water as well. The locations, cinematography, music are gorgeous and wonderful in the 2005 version. I still have my first love with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Mr. Darcy and Lizzie.

  3. This line made me burst out in laughter: "Okay, okay, so if you cornered me in a dark alley and threatened me with brass knuckles, I'd pick the 1995 version." You're lucky my laptop didn't get sprayed with milo.

    I have to say Macfadyen's my preference - I know it's sacrilege or whatever, and Firth's is truer to the book (well it would be, wouldn't it? He gets way more screen time) but the Macfadster just seems more like my cup of tea. The eyes...and the lips...le sigh indeed.

    1. Hahaha. Well, if I'm being honest... You know that moment when Darcy helps Elizabeth into the carriage in the 2005 version and stretches out his hand afterward? ZOMG!!!!!!!!!! Blindsides me every time! Colin who? Ugh. But I love you, Colin, I love youuuuu!!!!