I ♥ PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Have you read it? Admittedly, I didn’t read it initially for pleasure but, rather, I read it as part of an English Lit course in university. So I am not an Austen-ite. Apologies. I mean, sure, I enjoy reading Jane Austen’s novels but I’m not mad about them. And I have rarely read them twice. However, I have watched the film version more than twice.
Jane Austen is able to capture so much about human nature, about why we are so stubborn, so scared, so fearful, untrue to ourselves. Why we care so much about what others think of us. Why marriage is curiously not always about true love but about contracts and not having to be alone and doing what’s right in the eyes of family. There’s more to it, I’m sure, but sometimes it’s just lovely to get lost in the prose.
“SHE IS TOLERABLE; BUT NOT HANDSOME ENOUGH TO TEMPT ME…”
Oh no he didn’t. Oh yes, he did. That’s what Mr. Darcy said about Elizabeth Bennett to his friend, Mr. Bingley, when he first met her at a dance. Of course, he’s all haughty, and she’s all quick and witty. She does not lay down and take it. Oh no she doesn’t. Quips. Jolts. Contempt. When they are sparring with each other, it is amaaaaazing.
Of course, above all, you know, Pride & Prejudice is romantic. So, so romantic. It’s delicate, it’s fortitude. It’s muddy hems, it’s ribbons at the ball. It’s grace, it’s iron.
And there’s nothing wrong with sighing with delight over the romantic bits, too:
I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.
– Mr Darcy to Elizabeth, when asked when he fell in love with her (in novel)
BEWITCHED ME, BODY & SOUL
When I’m sick in bed I watch the Joe Wright adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. It’s my go-to for sick days. I can watch it over and over again in one day. It’s ridiculous, but true. I know it’s not the BBC version with Colin Firth getting all wet in the lake. I much prefer the one with Keira Knightley (as Elizabeth Bennett), which may be a kind of blasphemy for true fans of Jane Austen. *shrug*
The above scene shows when Elizabeth is surprised that the arrogant Mr. Darcy would take her hand in the guise of helping her into the carriage. Oh yes, he likes her so much that he just had to touch her. No matter how subtle.
THE SCENE OF ALL SCENES
Okay, so there is this scene in the film. Oh.my.word. A scene that is so — can I even say this for a period piece? — well, it’s so hot. Like searing hot. Like, you can virtually hear the sparks and sizzles between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Yeah, that kinda hot.
It’s the scene where Mr. Darcy first admits to Elizabeth that he loves her, “most ardently.” It’s raining. He’s going on and on how he can’t stop thinking about her, that he wants to marry her, even though he’s “fought against [his] better judgment, [his] family’s expectations, the inferiority of [her] birth, [his] rank and circumstance…”
You really want to tell him to shut the f-up already, like he’s digging his own grave. I know, right? So what does Elizabeth say in retort?
“And I might as well enquire why, with so evident a design of insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your better judgment … And those are the words of a gentleman. From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.“
Go girl! Yet….so sad, because it’s all a misunderstanding. It’s all…well…it’s all pride and prejudice.
So, how is this all hot and steamy? Well, they’re clearly attracted to each other but hate each other. And then Mr. Darcy hears her harsh words yet he leans in to her. So close. He looks at her mouth like he’s going to kiss her. Then he pulls away with this look of his face, like he wishes he could but he can’t because he’s a gentleman of a certain rank. Resigned by her rejection, he says, “Forgive me, madam, for taking up so much of your time,” with such disdain to mask his regret and wounded pride.
So hot. Oh.My.God.
(Watch it HERE.)