I’ll readily admit to not knowing my Austen. I haven’t seen more than a few minutes of the BBC adaptation of P&P; the one that gets Bridget Jones all of a doughy quiver. Perhaps lack of familiarity bred content, but for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Wright’s beautifully photographed (by Roman Osin), charmingly acted version.
It becomes less engaging in the second half when, rather than continuing to provide commentary, the independently-minded, quick-witted persona of Elizabeth Bennett is herself straight-jacketed within the romantic plotting. Wright’s most virtuoso scene is probably during a ball, when Elizabeth and Mr Darcy engage in combative conversation while taking part in a country dance; less successful is the conceit of having them suddenly appear as the only ones left in the room.
Keira Knightley’s Oscar nomination was probably excessive, but she’s very winning in the lead role. Donald Sutherland, Matthew Macfadyen and Rosamund Pike lend strong support.