In April, I decided to take on the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge and listed my chosen adaptations to review here. Thus, my countdown of adaptations from loathe to love and “tolerable, I suppose” in between…
My face while watching this adaptation.
9. Pride and Prejudice (1980): I never thought it possible to utter these words about an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, especially one done by thee BBC… but I loathed the 1980 BBC adaptation. Perhaps if I saw it when it first aired I might have liked it more (as the newest screen adaptation in forty years).
8. Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003): Pun intended on “Latter- Day” as this is set in modern day Utah. Overall, a bubblegum version of a classical work in the style of Clueless (based on Austen’s Emma), though less effectively executed.
7. Bride and Prejudice (2004): As an aficionada of Austen, an enthusiast of Bollywood films, and fan of Bend it Like Beckham, I fully expected and assumed that I would love Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice. However, I did not. This film is a strange, ineffective cocktail of Bollywood, Hollywood, and Austen.
6. Bridget Jones Diary (2001): A loosely based romcom adaptation, reducing Austen’s beloved characters to caricatures for comedic effect. As a film, it’s watchable. As an adaptation, I dislike it.
5. Pride and Prejudice (2005): A respectable adaptation with such heavy-hitting actors as: Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, Matthew MacFaydn, and Kiera Knightley. If you don’t have six hours to spare, this is a handy one to watch. The soundtrack by Dario Marianelli received an Oscar nomination and I think it’s the film’s best feature.
4. Lost in Austen (2008): In an interesting spin on all things Austen, Lost in Austen takes a modern day Austen fan into the book of Pride and Prejudice and follows all the mishaps and pitfalls that could befall a modern lady in Regency England. A bit of silly fun for the Austen enthusiast, not really suitable for anyone else.
3. Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012): This little web-series does a Herculean task of adapting Pride and Prejudice into easily watchable Youtube episodes. A fresh take on a beloved classic, this has undoubtedly introduced Austen to yet another generation.
2. Pride and Prejudice (1940): Not completely accurate to the time period or the novel, but Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier are delightful. Enough said.
1. Pride and Prejudice (1995): As penance to the public for the 1980 version, the BBC made this gem in 1995 that is considered by many to be the adaptation among adaptations. The one to watch. Be warned though, this version is not for the faint of heart. As one devotee put it, “It’s six hours. You have to commit.”