1. Pride & Prejudice (2005) – Directed by Joe Wright
The plot: Jane Austen’s classic favorite Pride & Prejudice tells the story of Elizabeth Bennett, a spirited young woman living in Georgian England – together with her four sisters, Jane, Kitty, Mary and Lydia. Their tranquil lives in the English countryside will never be the same when the handsome Mr. Bingley and his best friend Mr. Darcy move into the neighborhood. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are clearly attracted to each other – but will they overcome their pride and prejudice?
Why the adaptation works: Nominated for four Academy Awards, this adaptation is mesmerizingly accurate. “Pride & Prejudice” is the absolute masterpiece among adaptations. It is everything Jane Austen’s classic is – and so much more. This film brings the classic words to life in a way that earlier adaptations of the same material did not. There are two reasons for this: the visual eye of director Joe Wright and the queen of adaptations, Keira Knightley.
Joe Wright, who directed his first motion picture with “Pride & Prejudice,” has become one of the most well-known adaptors since the release of his vision on Jane Austen’s beloved classic. It was the film that launched his career and introduced the world to his visual eye. Wright directs beautifully stylized adaptations, with so much care for detail and so much love for the original material. In the case of “Pride & Prejudice,” Wright manages to capture the audience and draw them into this perfect world of love and wit and charm. And in this world, the fiery and beautiful centre is Keira Knightley.
Before “Pride & Prejudice,” Keira Knightley was a young, but promising, actress, known for her role as Elizabeth Swann in the blockbuster-franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean”. After her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in Wright’s adaptation, Knightley became a star. After “Pride & Prejudice,” Knightley starred in two more adaptations, both directed by Wright, and delivered two more iconic performances (as Anna Karenina in “Anna Karenina” and Celia Tallis in “Atonement,” respectively). In Austen’s classic, Knightley is irresistible. You are as charmed by Wright’s direction, as you are by her wit and beauty and strength. She can convey the entire emotional weight of the film, with just her eyes. It is spell-binding.Continue Reading Issue #19