Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pride and Prejudice 1995 VS Pride and Prejudice 2005

Pride and Prejudice - War of the Versions

Pride and Prejudice, the ever popular novel also remains to be the most frequently adapted story on screen. In this post I am going to compare the main characters in the two famous adaptations, Pride and Prejudice 1995 and 2005.

There is a difference between the two, one is a four part mini series which means approximately four hours of screen time while the other is a movie, about two hours long, despite this fact, we can’t help comparing the two. Let’s start then, on the left are the characters from the ’95 version and on the right, the ones from the ’05 version.

Kitty Bennet
Kitty Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
One of the younger Bennet sisters, she is rich in stupidity and non sense. The ’95 Kitty looked more sensible than she ought to be while the 2005 Kitty is just like her character in the book, giggling and stupid.

Mary Bennet
Mary Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
The philosopher Bennet sister, who loves to play the piano forte and give (unwanted) sermons. Now, have a look at ’95 Kitty, she looks murderous, also a moustache, just see. The 2005 Mary looks friendly, may be more pleasing and friendly than her character allows, but better than the previous one.

Lydia Bennet
Lydia Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
The stupidest Bennet girl and the youngest. Lydia Bennet from 1995 Pride and Prejudice looks older and too loud, even by Lydia-n standards. The 2005 version Lydia looks just appropriate, consistent.

Charlotte Lucas
Charlotte Lucas
Lizzy’s best friend, Charlotte Lucas. You see, ’95 version Charlotte has a hard time changing her expressions, you can’t deny that. She delivers all her lines in the same, mono tone. The 2005 Charlotte on the other hand, is more expressive than she should be and I think a bit too old for twenty seven.

Caroline Bingley
Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice
The proud sister of Mr. Bingley. I have liked both the actresses playing Caroline, both in 1995 version and in 2005 version. Both of them are remarkably unkind and sarcastic, though the latter is prettier.

Mr. Collins
Mr. Collins, Pride and Prejudice
Noble and not-so-humble cousin of the Bennets. This is one character, I wonder how Jane Austen created something so terribly irritating. Every time I see a new version of Pride and Prejudice, I find him more and more annoying. The ’95 Mr. Collins wins the battle in this regard, he’s just nauseating, whereas the 2005 Mr. Collins is still manageable.

Mr. Bingley
Mr. Bingley, Pride and Prejudice
Handsome and rich owner of the Netherfield Park. I like them both, though the 2005 Mr. Bingley is shown to be a little more ‘chicken type’ and makes rumbling sound while laughing, which is all so not true.

Mr. Bennet
Mr. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
The head of the Bennet house and the father of all beautiful girls. I really hate the ’95 version Mr. Bennet, he looks so unkind and thief like, in his own house, however, the 2005 Mr. Bennet looks like Lizzy’s father and has some charm to himself.

Mrs. Bennet
Mrs. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Probably the most restless soul in the complete story. Mrs. Bennet, similar to Mr. Collins, is super nauseating. I didn't like the 1995 Pride and Prejudice's Mrs. Bennet, she didn’t quite look like, you know, equal in rank, with the Bennets, she might have passed well as a house maid, a comical one. The 2005 Mrs. Bennet was really good, her expressions and panic and all those false tears, she did a good job.

Jane Bennet
Jane Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
The sweet and romantic girl, eldest of the Bennet sisters. No offence, but the ’95 version Jane was NOT pretty at all, just that she delivered her lines sweetly. How could anyone say that she was “five times as pretty as the rest”, (Lizzy lies, you know). The 2005 Jane was exactly Jane Bennet, shy and beautiful, romantic and sweet.

Mr. Wickham
Mr. Wickham, Pride and Prejudice
Handsome and hungry stranger, who flatters Elizabeth. I liked them both although they are very different but there is one thing in common-both of them are attractive. The ’95 version Wickham was a bit more mature than required but very gentlemanly, the 2005 version Wickham, Rupert Friend is more boy-like and agreeable.

Elizabeth Bennet
Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
The bold and pretty leading lady of the story. Casting of Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth sure did some good to the otherwise dim series, she is the saving grace of the ’95 version. The 2005 version Elizabeth, Keira Knightly is truly, deeply, completely, Elizabeth Bennet. Everything comes with a flaw so you can say that Keira Knightly was a bit more outrageous than the original character, but apart from that, she did really great.

Fitzwilliam Darcy
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
The all time heart throb, the most charming man that ever existed (if only in books) and the most agreeable of all partners, the character of Darcy has become that torch using which girls find their partners, sort of a must-have list (sorry for being over dramatic and stupid, you see what Darcy does to me). Finally, this is to declare that the 2005 version Darcy is the IDEAL Darcy for me, and always will be. I don’t know what makes girls go crazy after Colin Firth’s Darcy (is it something about those really clingy pants), I mean he is too rude, no charm (apart from money of course!). Mathew Macfadyen for Darcy, through and through!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did while writing it. There are bound to be clashes, of course, over the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice and the 2005 version, but we can’t help it, can we?

Do write to me about your pick out of these two versions, I won’t mind even if it’s the 1995 mini series!


  1. Hm...About mr Darcy I have to say this:
    Colin Firth is the perfect mr Darcy.
    Matthew Macfadyen, IS mr Darcy.
    I hope I made my opinion understood, as I love them both, but Matthew is a little more mysteriously charming..:)

  2. I loved everyone in the 2005 version.. but i think Mr. wickham fits the role more in the 95' version.. but i have agree on the rest.. especially Darcy. He does absolutely everything for me! <3 Very much in love with him. :P and of course you've got to love Elizabeth. :))

  3. Yes, I like Mathew because he's so charming, works perfectly well as my Darcy!

    Katie, I agree, may be the '95 version Wickham was better, he was definitely more decent. Rupert Friend (2005 Wickham) might have been a bit younger and naive for the role.

    1. But Darcy isn't supposed to be charming at all until Elizabeth gets to know him better. That is one of the premises of the book.Darcy is rude and conceited (Pride), so Elizabeth misjudges him (and Prejudice). Unless you wish to turn it around and Darcy was Prejudiced becuase Elizabeth was quite poor and came from an embarrassing family, and Elizabeth was Proud because Darcy spurned her when they first met. Either way, Darcy is not charming until the Coincidental Pemberly Meeting (what were the marble statues about?!).
      Also, I am sorry if this comment comes off as rude. I'm trying hard to express my opinions in a respectful, debate-style manner, so don't get offended if I seem a bit harsh. I'm really quite a nice person in real life.

  4. I thought the 1995 Kitty and Lydia played their roles quite well. You're right, 95 Kitty does seem a little more sensible than the 2005 one but in the book she is so - it's mostly Lydia's influence that leaves her all giggly and idiotic.

    I agree with you about Macfadyen though - he's my preferred Mr. Darcy.

    And yes, the 2005 Mr.Bennet seems more likeable, definitely, and was more of a father. Warmer, and more innocent (which kind of goes against the book, really - Mr. B is not innocent at all).

  5. I am so glad that you're of the same opinion. Macfadyen is my choice for Darcy.

    As for Mr. Bennet, yes, he's warmer than '95 version Mr. Bennet, that's exactly the word I would use.

  6. Hi Pallavi,

    Great post! I've shared this on my P&P FB page. :)

    I agree on most especially on Matthew & Keira as Darcy & Elizabeth. As for the Bennet sisters, I definitely love the 2005 version...they were more believable as well as looked and acted more like sisters than the 1995 Bennet sisters. Also, the 2005 Bennet sisters' ages were closer to the book when they filmed the movie. As for Mr. Collins, I personally preferred Tom Hollander's version. I thought he did a great job in making his Mr. Collins awkward and ridiculous at the same time. He was funny too without even trying, lol. I especially love when he was trying to get Mr. Darcy's attention at the Netherfield Ball and all Mr. Darcy did was just elbowed him, hahaha! :D FYI: Tom Hollander and Matthew Macfadyen improvised that scene. ;)

    1. Hollander and Macfadyen at the Netherfield Ball was just precious, isn't it? :D

  7. Thanks for the FYI Jeane, I didn't know that. I agree with you, about the Bennet sisters, even I preferred the 2005 set. In the 1995 version every character looked bit old for their age.

  8. You're out of your mind. 2005 is so inferior to 1995, and not true to the book. Since when is Darcy so "down in the mouth" and afraid of his shadow? Where is the arrogance, the pride, the prejudice, the fire? Since when is Eliza such a hard-bitten shrew? Keira can't act her way out of a box. No man, let alone the prize that is Darcy, would fall for that harridan. Mr. Bennett is not supposed to be so kindly and warm-hearted, but a trenchant people-watcher. Tell me, do you know how to read? If you do, read P&P for yourself and see which version captures the characters as written. The 2005 version is more like "Jane Austen on Mars," so untrue an interpretation it is so as to be completely alien. And what's with the animals running through Longbourn? The Bennetts weren't peasants, you know.

    1. I emphatically agree with everything you've written!!
      And the idea that The Bennetts would be raising chickens on their property just made my blood boil. Indeed, they were not peasants.

      Plus, the 2005 Darcy came off more as Mr Rochester, to me. Rochester is just darling, but he most certainly is NOT Mr Darcy.

    2. Alisha, I had never thought of it before, but you are right! Matthew Macfadyen's Darcy would make the almost perfect Mr Rochester. However, I do still like his Darcy, however more emotional and pitiable he may ne. And the mud and pigs and chickens really annoyed me too!

  9. You think the 1995 version was better, its okay, we have our opinions , you have yours. No hard feelings!

  10. Pallavi, I sincerely thank you for taking my criticism of your 1995 vs. 2005 review in such a magnaminous fashion. I may despise the 2005 version, but I certainly don't despise you or your efforts. I am enjoying reading your blog and fb page and congratulate you on a job well done. Bravo!

  11. You are always welcome! I am glad that you are enjoying this blog!

  12. Thanks, Pallavi, for the critical comparison. I'm a big fan of the 2005 version and I deeply enjoyed reading your post.


  13. lol. i loved your post and i agreed with everything you said. Everyone in the 1995 version looked much too old for their character. Especially Lydia and Elizabeth. No offense but they all looked too plump... and the costumes didn't really help the fact. Jennifer Ehle is a great actress. So is Keira. But Matthew Macfadyen will always be my favourite Darcy.
    you guys should check out "the lizzie bennet diaries" on youtube. its so funny and awesome.
    anyway, we each have our own opinions right? so no fighting :)

  14. Well, the author certainly displays a clear preference for the 2005 movie. I respect the author's views and they are quite well expressed, but Kiera Knightley cannot act to save her life. She makes Elizabeth seem absolutely empty-headed, with no intelligence or wit behind her sparring with Darcy (Macfadyen shows far too much emotion, especially at the Meryton assembly). Knightley's way of showing emotion is to open her mouth slightly, which is so far from the novel's character that it would make me laugh if Knightley hadn't been nominated for Best Actress. I disagree with the author on several other points, especially on the subject of Mr. Darcy. Firth is not perfect and there are certainly some very awkward scenes, but the way he looks at Elizabeth when she is playing the piano at Pemberly makes me cry every time. As I said, Darcy is supposed to be poker-faced for the first half at least, and while Macfadyen was a great character, I'm afraid he wasn't Mr. Darcy. Also, there is simply no comparing Alison Steadman to whoever did Mrs. Bennet in the 2005 one. Jane Austen's witty and sarcastic writing style led me to believe that Mrs. Bennet was supposed to be overbearig and obnoxious, but the 2005 Mrs. Bennet just looked a little tipsy. Also, I simply could not tell Lydia from Kitty in the 2005 movie, even after Lydia eloped.
    I'm sorry, but I just reread the author's commenta on the subject of Elizabeth Bennet and you must excuse me from ranting some more. The chief characteristic of Elizabeth Bennet and the reason Darcy falls in love with her is supposed to be the "liveliness of her mind," and as I said before, Knightley makes her seem like a foolish flirt who occaisionally comes up with a decent comeback. "One cannot always be laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty."
    Also, one must note he impropriety of Darcy 1)walking into the Collins' house uninvited and unnanounced 2)at night, and 3)going into Elizabeth's room, 4)where she has been staring blankly at her reflection for several hours, and 5)leaving off a letter for her. Quite an ungentlemanlike manner!
    In conclusion, I prefer the 1995 miniseries over the Americanized 2005 movie for many reasons, although I must own that their Jane was quite superior. Bingley, though! He was the closest the author came to actually saying something negative about the 2005 movie.
    Sorry, that wasn't a very focused conclusion. I'll try again.
    In conclusion, I infinitely prefer the (not perfect by any means) 1995 miniseries to the 2005 movie.
    Also, I find it mildly amusing that all the "Anonymous" bloggers were pro-1995. Go figure.

    1. Oh, except the July 10th one. Still, well-expressed! Go, Anonymites!

  15. Couldn't disagree with you more.

    I'm sorry, but can't you see how modern and Hollywood-ised the 2005 movie is? If you read the book and say that the characterisations of the movie are more accurate, then you really have problems with reading comprehension.

    I understand that the modernity of the movie appeals to a lot of modern-minded people, but I thought the beauty of period things was the atmosphere, the understatement, the correctness, the subtlety of everything, which the movie just chucked out the window entirely.

    1. You keep saying "opinion" when people state facts such as the 2005 version not being true to the book. The costumes in the 2005 version were not period-suitable. The "freedoms" taken with the book in the 2005 version, such as Catherine De Bourgh showing up in the middle of the night (or Darcy going into Elizabeth's room in the middle of the night!) are not true to the book.

      Now, if I stated my opinion: Keira Knightly is as subtle in this movie as lipstick on a pig, then you could say it was a difference of opinion. (And she is. Her guffawing and bad acting make Elizabeth seem empty-headed. You never see the wicked glint of mischief in her eyes that you do in Jennifer Ehle's... she's too busy overacting and trying to make it very very clear to the audience that she's being very very clever).

    2. I will not deny the fact that 1995 version is true to the book, but to me, that version seems so boring and fake, even though what is shown in 1995 may be an accurate depiction of real life in the 19th century. I feel that I can relate more to the 2005 version.

      As the author had stated "difference of opinion", it is more likely that she meant she enjoyed the 2005 version more than 1995, not necessary that 2005 is more accurate than 1995. It is the minor characters, not Lizzy or Darcy, that makes me love the 2005 version more than 1995.
      Please understand that this is only my opinion, and the fact that I respect your opinion as well.

  16. I agree with most of your judgements. All the Bennet sisters (with the possible exception of Elizabeth, who was just as good) were better cast in 2005, although Mary was a little too pretty, being Talulah Riley and all. However, I much prefered the old Mr Wickham, as he appeared to have a lot more charm and therefore seemed more dangerous. 2005 Wickham looks very uncomfortable and his hair is, quite frankly, silly (sorry Rupert Friend!).
    Both Mr Collinses have their good performances, but I felt that the 1995 one was a little too over the top creepy (think Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter series!). Tom Hollander was a lot less creepy and a lot more awkward, which I find a lot more suited to the character in the book.
    Lastly I'd like to point out that whilst you missed out Colonel Fitzwilliam (my all-time favourite character in P&P) for your own reasons, there lies a great contrast between the two versions. The 1995 one was handsome, charming and contrasted beautifully with Darcy to provide a potential love rival for Elizabeth's hand. This made Darcy's plight more urgent and also made him appear more human. In 2005 he is very much brushed over, and was not so much charming as cartoonish.

  17. I disagree with everything but your statements about Jane. The 2005 version was nothing compared to that of 1995. The 2005 movie was short, cold, and too Hollywood. The 1995 version offered six beautiful episodes. Each one drew you deeper inside the story, until you're hooked and absolutely IN LOVE with them.

  18. Everything you said, I disagree with. So sorry, but this is my view.
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that the 1995 version is FAR better.
    So sorry. I hope you don't hate me for this.
    I don't hate you, I just hate the 2005 version.
    Enough said on the subject.

  19. I personally really like the 1995 and really dislike the 2005. I love Jane Austen and to be perfectly honest, if I'd seen the 2005 movie before I'd read the book, I wouldn't have read any Austen at all.
    However, having read the book, I'm awfully glad the 1995 version exists. I can't stand it when books are portrayed poorly by movies, and I think the '95 version does very well portraying it the way I imagined the story to be. I also much, much, much prefer Jennifer Ehle over Kiera Knightley. I hate to say, or even think it, but Knightley does seem a bit empty headed and sometimes emotionally unstable during the movie. That isn't Elizabeth Bennett at all. I also like the '95 Mr. Bennett better because you see his wit more and you can tell where Elizabeth gets it from, whereas the 2005 Bennett is almost too nice. In the book it is Elizabeth who takes after her father more than it is Jane.
    Anyway, thanks for the post. I enjoy seeing the different reactions to things like this :)


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