The well-known romance novel, written by Jane Austen, was
made into BBC series, but also a British American full-length movie. The
adaptation I chose is the 2005 movie by director Joe Wright. It is a romantic melodrama
with Keira Knightley as the lead protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, and her love
interest Darcy Fitzwilliam played by Matthew Macfadyen. Originally, all the
dialogues were planned to be kept the same in the movie. When I watched the
movie, I noticed many changes to the story. Wright, the director, changed many
things in the story, including the original dialogue. Also, he set the movie in
the late 18th century, whereas the book occurred in the 19th
century. His changes were done to the characters, but also the scenes, which he
omitted but also added and introduced us new scenes. The director wanted the
younger audience to understand as well being able to connect with the story. If
the movie was the same as the book, it would be shown in the perspective of
Elizabeth. However, Wright chose to include the scenes with the perspective of
Darcy as well to show his human side and prove that he is not only a grumpy
character without feelings. It also proved how close his relationship was with
Firstly, the changes in the characters were rather in the
personality than physical changes. However, that was one change in the physical
attribute to a character that was quite striking. Mr Collins, the cousin and
possible husband of Elizabeth, was described as a tall man. However, in the
movie adaptation he was even smaller then Lizzie.
The bigger difference was in the character of Elizabeth.
In the book, Elizabeth was portrayed as a bright, cheerful protagonist, whereas
in the movie, especially if we focus in the scene were she is seen yelling at
her mother, she is quite rude, bold and impatient. This particular change in
her character is quite unrealistic considering that it was situated in the 19th
century, where yelling at your parents was considered as an unusual thing. Looking
at the physical appearance, Elizabeth, but also the Bennet family were
portrayed as a poor peasant class, which was easily identified by the clothing and
housing. That is a quite huge change compared to the book. The difference
between Darcy and Elizabeth social classes is too obvious in the movie version.
Wright made the Bennet family look like they are a peasant lower class, whereas
Austen created them as a gentry who posseses an estate. His change did not
affect only the physical appearance or housing. What is more, their manners
were also changed. No one will think that they are an aristocratic class
originally. He should have not changed it because it lost the truthfulness to
the book and its story.
Moreover, Wright’s Elizabeth keeps her distance not only with
Jane, but also with her sisters later through the movie. She is secretative and
ridicules her family. The original Elizabeth never kept secrets from Jane and
she was well-educated enough to behave like that. This was the change that
completely changed the protagonist, but also the whole narrative. She is a
lonely heroine who is dealing with emotions by herself.
The qualities of Elizabeth in the movie reminds us a
typical romantic hero who is lonely and dealing with problems by himself. She
keeps secrets from Jane and does not tell her that Darcy saved her family.
Whereas Jane Austen’s Elizabeth is more of a neoclassical character who has a
rational thinking and is not alone, because she has her sister or her best
friend Charlotte Lucas.
However, that does not mean that the movie adaptation
made Elizabeth cold-hearted. Elizabeth has a few scenes where she is not afraid
to show her real emotions. She is crying in front of Darcy and his relatives
when she receives the news of her sister Lydia running away with Wickham. In
the last part of the movie, Elizabeth is crying again, when she explains to her
father that she truly loves Darcy and ask for permission to marry him. This
scene is very emotional, as both Elizabeth and her father, Mr Bennet, are
crying. He shows his true emotions of being sad to let her go but also happy at
the same time, because he believes she found a true love. In the book, it was
not to such an extent, with Elizabeth only having tears in her eyes. Therefore,
it was not as visible as in the movie.
The relationship of Mr and Mrs Bennet was also a striking
difference. The movie made their relationship very affectionate. On the other
hand, in the book, the Bennets relationship is passive and hostile.
Nowadays people prefer watching movies to reading books. Jane
Austen’s story is timeless, thus it is obvious there have been many adaptations,
series or book. Furthermore, it is a However, if we take the movie adaptation
and the original book, there are too many differences that are obvious when we
compare it with the book. Wright made Elizabeth look as a rude, but also secretive
character and thus, changed the narrative of the story. The movie was very
romantic, because the nature was one with the main protagonist. When she was
sad, the weather changed to stormy, and when she was happy, the sun was shining
bright. Therefore, the character of Elizabeth was lonesome, like any romantic
hero. In the novel, she is not lonely, because she shares everything with Jane
or Charlotte. She is rational and that is the trait of a neoclassical
character. Overall, Wright wanted the audience to understand the story more and
that is why the dialogues were changed.