Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy, 2003

Pride and Prejudice, 2003 film, dir. Andrew Black

I owe these 104 minutes of fascination to one of my students, who thought I might enjoy this film adaptation of our beloved Austen novel. The twist: it’s set in Mormon Utah, and though the characters never explicitly refer to Mormonism, there are several references to church and prayer, and it is clear that none of them expect to have sex outside of marriage. The characters sometimes do immoral things, but they’re never truly beyond the pale. In short, a rather perfect set-up for bringing Austen to the modern world.

Our heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, is an aspiring writer who lives with her roommate, Jane, a Spanish-accented beauty, and near a ditzy landlord, Lydia and Lydia’s even more idle and ignorant little sister, Kitty. (Writing functions here as pianoforte/singing functions in the novel.) Mary makes several embarrassing appearances, and she lands Collins, a rather ridiculous preacher, in lieu of Charlotte, whom we see (I think) just once, buying a “how to land a man” book that has taken bookshelves by storm (The Pink Bible). Wickham is a crime-committer, but not nearly on the scale that he is in the book, and Bingley knows Hebrew roots of names. Darcy and his sister are properly British and compelling. Caroline Bingley seems more evil than Wickham here, but even she doesn’t directly commit a crime; she misleads, rather than lies to, Elizabeth, but the effects could be as disastrous.

My biggest complaint: no adults! I really missed Mr. Bennet’s dry wit, and I even occasionally longed for an annoying Mrs. Bennet comment. She is referred to, but never makes an appearance. Same for Lady Catherine, the Gardiners, and the Phillipses. Some of the novel’s greatest humor comes from these characters (bad enough that we already have to lose the narrator’s voice in film form, but to eliminate these, too? It’s too much!).

Otherwise, a fun, LDS-style Pride and Prejudice with some clever parallels to the book.

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Published in: on May 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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