Movie vs. Book: Pride & Prejudice


I think almost everyone has heard of the classic story “Pride and Prejudice”. The popular, well-known story has been adapted into not one, but at least seventeen different movies since 1938. I recently wrote about books and their movie adaptations, and the struggles that come with adapting a book into a good movie that audiences will be satisfied with. I decided to delve deeper, comparing a specific book to its movie adaptation to determine what exactly makes a quality movie adaptation. Today, I will be comparing the classic story aforementioned and its 2005 film adaptation, featuring Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfayden.

“Pride and Prejudice” was written by Jane Austen in 1813—also well known for many of her other novels written during the 18th century. The story follows the Bennet household and their five unmarried daughters. Set around the late 1700s and early 1800s, Mrs. Bennet’s biggest concern is seeing her daughters married to men who will allow them to live secure and comfortable futures. 

Each character has a distinct personality that contrasts with the others. The main protagonist of the novel is Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter of the Bennet family. She is described as intelligent and sharp. Upon meeting Mr. Darcy—a man characterized by his snobbish pride—Elizabeth is quick to make a negative judgment of him. Throughout the story, she is forced to reassess her judgment as the two constantly cross paths with each other, and Elizabeth begins to realize that maybe Mr. Darcy isn’t who she thought he was. 

Before reading this novel, I had watched “Pride and Prejudice” a few times. It is one of my favorite movies. One that I can constantly rewatch without growing tired of it. The acting and the cinematics of the movie are beautiful and elegant. The actors do a great job portraying their characters from the book and their feelings for other characters. 

Though, as per usual, the novel goes into deeper detail about the story and characters which is something I like better than the movie. More specifically, I enjoy reading into the desires and impressions Darcy has regarding Elizabeth. Even though actor Macfayden does a great job displaying Darcy’s yearning through his longing stares, the novel provides a better explanation of his admiration of Elizabeth. Within the book, Elizabeth is a topic that comes up in discussions that Darcy has with others, hinting at his affection for her. These thoughts and conversations we see in the book are omitted from the movie, making it harder to perceive just how much Darcy cares for Elizabeth. 

The movie does a pretty good job following the story of the book. Of course, a lot of scenes and details from the book are excluded from the movie. The narrative in the movie is also more fast-paced as they try to fit all the key points of the novel into a two-hour film. But the parts we do see in the movie are well adapted from the book, with specific dialogue extracted from the book added into the movie. Though I would consider this movie to be a quality adaptation, I have heard that the 1995 “Pride and Prejudice” TV series is more accurate and true to the novel. Just by watching the first episode of the series, I could confirm that it does follow the book better than the movie. 

Deciding whether I liked the movie or the book better is a difficult choice. I would both read and watch this story over and over again. I think the two are things that should be enjoyed together. Watch the movie then read the book or vice versa. The general tale of “Pride and Prejudice” is—in my opinion—amazing. Whether you like reading or watching movies more, you should at least entertain yourself with either one or the other, if not both. 

Categories: Entertainment, Opinion

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