The Morning After: May 25, 2015

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

Pride & Prejudice

Joe Wright’s lush treatment of Jane Austen’s move is a luxurious treat starring Keira Knightley in a role she seemed born to play. The novel, about a large middle class family struggling to marry off its daughters and save their meager home leads to a series of romantic entanglements that meet with varied and degrees of success and failure.

Knightley plays Elizabeth Bennet, the second-born daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bennett (Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn), her hot-tempered determination is at odds with society’s opinions of how women should act. Her fierce determination puts her at odds with the refined and unimpressed Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). As the two fight a war of mental dominance throughout the course of the film, Knightley’s Elizabeth’s passionate stances help soften the indifferent expressions of the upper class Darcy played succinctly by Macfadyen.

This terrific cast has Knightley as a distant apex, but features some of contemporary film’s most superb female actors including then-future Oscar nominees Rosamund Pike and Carey Mulligan as well as then-Oscar nominee Blethyn and surprisingly under-utilized Jena Malone. Even Sutherland has his time to shine in a handful of excellent rejoinders and a singular defense of Knightley’s right to refuse the advances of an impertinent reverend, even if his accent is the lone American one.

Cinematographer Roman Osin delivers some superlative exterior vistas for the audience to enjoy while production designer Sarah Greenwood, and especially costume designer Jacqueline Durran help evoke a glorious period of design in early-19th Century England. Being unfamiliar with the source material, I cannot form an impression of how comparative the film is the movie, but as a film, this is one of the least stuffy, most engaging renditions of a Victorian or Edwardian era novel I’ve seen.

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