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Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice

Alternate Title: Been There Done That

Story: Those of you that can remember all the way back to the mid 1990's there existed a mania of Jane Austen adaptations with Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion and the BBC's hard to beat version of Pride & Prejudice. Did we need another big screen version of P & P? Well, why the heck not?

Director Joe Wright delivers a delightful (while not quite true to Austen) version of P & P. It is a sweeping, beautiful to look (though somewhat superficial) picture of Austen's England replete with class distinctions, rights of inheritance and the role of women in society. The screenplay is by Deborah Moggach (with an uncredited nod to the always amazing Emma Thompson).

Quickie primer for those not in the know about Austen novels - a perky, defiant young woman fights for her rights in class conscious Britain. A higher class man enters the story, the battle of wits and quest for love begins and so on and so on.

Should you see this film? If you like period pieces and sumptuous film making than check it out. If you are a stickler for the original than simply read the novel.

Acting: Keira Knightley is everywhere. She is the flavor of the month. She plays Elizabeth Bennet with spunk and dazzle. I had to get over her natural pouty expression and similarity in looks to Wynona Ryder to enjoy her performance. Once I accomplished that feat, I believed he character. Matthew MacFadyen was an interesting choice as Mr Darcy. He was quiet (at times numb) but overall he was a fine Mr. Darcy and who could not fall head over heels for him as he emerges from the countryside fog to proclaim his love for Elizabeth wearing a long duster type coat. Donald Sutherland was wonderful as the father as was ditzy Brenda Blethyn as the mother. The rest of the cast worked too.

Predilection: I like Jane Austen and I like period pieces.

Critters: Horses, chickens, a parrot, a pig and dogs.

Food: Lots and lots of food, glorious food.

Visual Art: Wonderful detailed sets of the difference in class conscious England.

Theater Audience: A handful of Austen fans in a huge stadium seating theater.

Sappy Factor: It is Jane Austen. You know what you are going to get.

Drift Factor: I confess to looking at my watch a few times into the second hour.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Soap Box: My movie buddy was appalled at the artistic license that was used in this production. She is a stickler for the original. But we both like Mr.Darcy.

Big Screen or Rental: If you like this type of movie than the big screen is for you. It is a sumptuous look at Jane Austen's countryside. For some of Keira Knightley's other films try renting: Domino, King Arthur, Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Bend It Like Beckham.

Length: A bit over two hours.