I have re-read Pride and Prejudice and thought it would be a good time/idea to catch up with all the movie/tv variations.
First, a confession: while I do like Jane Austen and find her very witty and funny, I do have issues with her novels. Not just that they are all the same (c'mon, admit it), but also, how big the controversy is between the public image of her as an independent, strong woman and her completely patriarchal, conservative-traditional heroins. Every single one of them will give up her own line of thinking, her own true self just to be married. In the end that's their real and exclusive goal in life, no matter what they say or do beforehand. Take Lizzy Bennett for instance. The way Darcy treated her and her family in the beginning, well, it was absolutely justified and fair from her to refuse his marriage proposal. And she did it with dignity, and integrity (albeit angry and frustrated). And there was no 'pride' and 'prejudice' in her at all. Nothing. Nul. Zero. Darcy was an asshole and got what he would get from any normal woman, almost at any time of history. Period. And yes, he is trying to get into Lizzy's trust with settling her sister's scandal, but under no circumstances his bigheadedness and rudeness should be forgotten. But of course, all of a sudden, Lizzy realizes that 'oh, I was wrong, he paid all those big sums for my sister! He must be a good man!' So it goes. Very, very irritating.
Now, the reason I wrote about it is, that if you are adapting a Jane Austen novel in a movie, you simply have to dig deep to give some true and plausible reasons why her characters can be relevant and more or less lovable. Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility did that perfectly. It was eventually a sad, emotional movie about human relationships (not matter if it is romantic or not).
It is quite evident that this movie tries to attempt the same. All along the film we have the feeling that yes, they picked up the right and relevant threads of this typical Jane Austen story, and dropped the overly romantic (=sentimental) bullshit. And yes, these threads could be the ones why it is worth sitting through the 2 hours. Alas, these feeling are just lingering above, never ever materialized in the movie. The reason is simple: the screenplay. They managed to leave out exactly those scenes, those dialogs, those events that would have backed up and justified the attempted interpretation. Or, they emphasized the wrong parts and swiped through much more important parts very quickly. So we see static scenes, faces, grand totals, some fragments of dialogs that would have been perfect for the original goal, but that's all we have left with. Instead of listing every weakness here are two important ones: to depict Bingly as a half-idiot (even in his outlook), is a serious and sinful misinterpretation. Also, can't leave out that giving the role of Darcy to Matthew Macfadyen was exceptionally wrong. I am sure there would have been other excellent choices - much better than this cow-eyed pretty boy (whose voice I love though). There are some excellent scenes including him but the credit goes to the director of the movie rather to his acting skills (like Bingly's rehearsal of the marriage proposal in the end).