The well-known romance novel, written by Jane Austen, wasmade into BBC series, but also a British American full-length movie.
Theadaptation I chose is the 2005 movie by director Joe Wright. It is a romantic melodramawith Keira Knightley as the lead protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, and her loveinterest Darcy Fitzwilliam played by Matthew Macfadyen. Originally, all thedialogues were planned to be kept the same in the movie. When I watched themovie, I noticed many changes to the story. Wright, the director, changed manythings in the story, including the original dialogue. Also, he set the movie inthe late 18th century, whereas the book occurred in the 19thcentury. His changes were done to the characters, but also the scenes, which heomitted but also added and introduced us new scenes. The director wanted theyounger audience to understand as well being able to connect with the story.
Ifthe movie was the same as the book, it would be shown in the perspective ofElizabeth. However, Wright chose to include the scenes with the perspective ofDarcy as well to show his human side and prove that he is not only a grumpycharacter without feelings. It also proved how close his relationship was withBingley. Firstly, the changes in the characters were rather in thepersonality than physical changes. However, that was one change in the physicalattribute to a character that was quite striking. Mr Collins, the cousin andpossible husband of Elizabeth, was described as a tall man.
However, in themovie 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, whereasin the movie, especially if we focus in the scene were she is seen yelling ather mother, she is quite rude, bold and impatient. This particular change inher character is quite unrealistic considering that it was situated in the 19thcentury, where yelling at your parents was considered as an unusual thing. Lookingat the physical appearance, Elizabeth, but also the Bennet family wereportrayed as a poor peasant class, which was easily identified by the clothing andhousing.
That is a quite huge change compared to the book. The differencebetween 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, whereasAusten created them as a gentry who posseses an estate. His change did notaffect only the physical appearance or housing. What is more, their mannerswere also changed. No one will think that they are an aristocratic classoriginally. He should have not changed it because it lost the truthfulness tothe book and its story. Moreover, Wright’s Elizabeth keeps her distance not only withJane, but also with her sisters later through the movie.
She is secretative andridicules her family. The original Elizabeth never kept secrets from Jane andshe was well-educated enough to behave like that. This was the change thatcompletely changed the protagonist, but also the whole narrative. She is alonely heroine who is dealing with emotions by herself.
The qualities of Elizabeth in the movie reminds us atypical romantic hero who is lonely and dealing with problems by himself. Shekeeps 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 arational thinking and is not alone, because she has her sister or her bestfriend Charlotte Lucas. However, that does not mean that the movie adaptationmade Elizabeth cold-hearted. Elizabeth has a few scenes where she is not afraidto show her real emotions. She is crying in front of Darcy and his relativeswhen she receives the news of her sister Lydia running away with Wickham. Inthe last part of the movie, Elizabeth is crying again, when she explains to herfather that she truly loves Darcy and ask for permission to marry him.
Thisscene is very emotional, as both Elizabeth and her father, Mr Bennet, arecrying. He shows his true emotions of being sad to let her go but also happy atthe same time, because he believes she found a true love. In the book, it wasnot 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 strikingdifference. The movie made their relationship very affectionate. On the otherhand, in the book, the Bennets relationship is passive and hostile. Nowadays people prefer watching movies to reading books.
JaneAusten’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 adaptationand the original book, there are too many differences that are obvious when wecompare it with the book. Wright made Elizabeth look as a rude, but also secretivecharacter and thus, changed the narrative of the story. The movie was veryromantic, because the nature was one with the main protagonist.
When she wassad, the weather changed to stormy, and when she was happy, the sun was shiningbright. Therefore, the character of Elizabeth was lonesome, like any romantichero. In the novel, she is not lonely, because she shares everything with Janeor Charlotte. She is rational and that is the trait of a neoclassicalcharacter.
Overall, Wright wanted the audience to understand the story more andthat is why the dialogues were changed.