Time: 127 Minutes
AWARDS: Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Knightley), Art Direction, Costume Design and Score.
SYNOPSIS: The five Bennett sisters including strong-willed Elizabeth and flighty, young Lydia have been raised by their mother with one purpose in life: finding a rich husband. When a wealthy bachelor takes up residence in a nearby mansion, the Bennetts are abuzz. That is until Elizabeth meets up with the handsome Mr. Darcy, whose apparent snobbishness causes a battle of the sexes to begin.
BOTTOM LINE: While this certainly isn't the most in-depth or literary versions of this oft-told tale it is a very lush and romantic one. It relies mainly on mood and emotion to tell it's tale, which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering the lush costumes, beautiful cast and lovely locations. However, for those new to the story (not sure who that would be exactly) the plot, what there is of one, may be a bit to minimalist to hold your attention. Usually with literary adaptations there is some attrition to the plot to make the story fit onscreen, but in this case there are just too many characters and not enough time to really do most of them, or their reasons for being in the story, much justice.
I am very familiar with the trials and tribulations of the Bennett sisters quest for true love and there were a few moments where even I was confused. Thankfully, Knightley and Macfadyen embody Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy with just the right amount of wit, intelligence, anger and yearning that the characters are so well known for. I can't say he's my favorite actor in the Darcy role (he doesn't exactly get my pilot light going), but he was good enough to convince me that she might go for him. Knightley shows true maturity and depth as an actress, even in this lightened version of everyone's favorite old-school feminist herione. She will marry when she's damn well ready and to a man she can respect. Momma's plans be damned. She may not be the prettiest girl in the room, but you're still unable to take your eyes off of her. Those who love this tale might be disappointed with this go round, but it will probably leave newbies hearts aflutter. A delightful (and visually first-rate) if not exactly memorable retelling.