It’s no secret that I am madly in love with the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice (starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle). I’ve mentioned many, many times that I love re-watching the mini-series every few months. It’s one of those things in life that makes the world right itself again, much like sriracha-doused pho, hot baths in hotel rooms, and “makin’ fists with your toes” in carpet after traveling long distances.
My friend Andrea introduced me to the Colin Firth version of P&P in high school. She invited me over for a sleepover and we watched the entire 5-hour series in one go. For her senior yearbook photo, she Photoshopped Jennifer Ehle’s face out of the final wedding screenshot with Mr. Darcy. I didn’t get it. I appreciated the story, of course, but why the hubbub? And, to be honest, I still don’t understand why Bridget Jones squeals when Mr. Darcy dives into his estate’s pond. Colin Firth is so much more dapper when he’s fully dressed and wearing his fabulous hats, in my humble opinion.
My first year in college, I took a feminist writing course. The syllabus included works by George Eliot, Jeanette Winterson, and Jane Austen. We read Pride and Prejudice the novel, and now when I re-read it (about once every year or so), I find myself giggling at all the new witticisms that I’ve missed or forgotten in prior reads. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
I honestly think the mini-series is just as good as the book, and shows all the subtleties of the story to the surface without being obvious about it. I can watch the series and always find something new to appreciate. This last showing: did they have nail polish back in the Regency era? I just noticed Mrs. Bennet has some pearly pink fingernails in the last half hour of the story.
When the “new” Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley was announced, I didn’t know if I would like it. Let’s face it: Firth is the perfect Darcy. What could pretty-boy Matthew MacFadyen do better than Colin “the King” Firth? I understand that the story was truncated to fit a 2-hour screen time, and that it was punched up for Hollywood audiences, and dumbed down so that people not as esoteric as Andrea or myself could understand why it was scandalous that Lydia ran off with an officer or why Mr. Collins was trying to win Lizzy’s hand, but in doing so it lost so much magic. When I saw the 2005 P&P, I was so severely disappointed. Keira was such an overdramatic Lizzy. Miss Elizabeth Bennet would NEVER stare at herself in the mirror for hours in a trance! Come on, now!
The chemistry between Ehle and Firth is so perfect. You can sense her dislike at the beginning, and his intrigue… her peaked interest while at Pemberley, and his softened earnestness… her despair at Lydia’s ruin, and his gentle concern… The entire time you’re rooting for them to grow, and to love each other, and when it finally happens, it’s wonderful!
Colin Firth makes me want to hug a pillow and eat chocolate and be in love forever. Matthew MacFadyen? He is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.
I bet Walt wishes he didn’t buy the remastered P&P on Bluray now, because I’m going to watch it over and over and over and over…