Jane Austen’s 1813 novel has almost been anointed as the “mother of all romantic comedies.” Certainly, its plot, in which the two protagonists disguise growing affection behind barbed language and outward contempt for each other, is now a well-trod path and was so even in Austen’s day. Lizzie (Keira Knightley) and Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) are very much spiritual descendents of Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
It also has to be one of the most adapted novels in cinema history, with eight film versions, including this one, and three television adaptations. Joe Wright’s 2005 film manages to do a masterful job of compressing the novel’s plot into a reasonable two-hour running time. The movie manages to do justice to the film’s characters, Austen’s language and major themes within the confines of a feature length film.