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Friday, August 13, 2021

Pride & Prejudice: a Latter Day Comedy | guest review from Beth!

You know those movies that are just... well, can you even call them movies? I'm pretty sure I've blocked out what little bit of this "movie" I actually watched. But Beth took one for the team and watched the whole damn darn thing! So I'm going to let her tell you all about it. Who knows? Maybe she had a better experience than I, and consideres it a modern masterpiece! ;)
latter day comedy, pride and prejudice, P&P, jane austen, austen in august

Adaptation of: Pride and Prejudice

Notable Changes:

  • The Bennet siblings are presented as roommates, not sisters.
    • Elizabeth is a burgeoning author (and she and the others are also college students).
    • Jane is an Argentinian exchange student for no plot reason.
  • The final 10 min of the movie is new plot.
  • Collins is turned from annoying into toxic/abusive (and the Bennet girls push Mary at Collins, knowing this about him...I guess because marrying a toxic guy is better than waiting for a better option, or staying single? Yikes).
  • Bingley is turned from sweet, wealthy man to total idiot (which devalues the Jane/Bingley romance; he also exploits the Jewish faith and a First Nations burial ground which is quite cringe-worthy).


This movie is very mid-90s, in styling, in soundtrack, in cinematography, in pace, and in characterization. Wow, did it throw me right back.

The LDS theme was a solid concept to sell a less-altered version of the plot, namely around marriage being so central the lives of the women. However, it felt uncomfortable to have a modern-day setting where:

  • Marrying anyone is better than remaining single.
  • Women apparently can't have marriage and a fulfilling career.
  • Nobody just dates.
  • Kissing after a date is "too fast".
  • Divorce isn't an option.
  • Only the women have character development but the men still get happy endings.
  • There's zero diversity- everyone shares the same belief, everyone is white, everyone is straight, and everyone looks middle class. (This may be more reflective of the setting of Provo, UT and/or the 2003 production date of the film, but it still feels uncomfortable to see)

There were also a few dialogue lines about monotheistic faith that felt awkward to me as a non-Christian (as well as unnecessary to the plot).

Despite the cringe factor, they do a great job of making Darcy an absolute prat, right out of the gate. Jack Wickham, conversely, is clearly lined up as the misunderstood charmer (he's notorious for quitting the church, he flirts with Elizabeth but also suggests eloping, he plays pool in a dark void). 

Teen-focused 90s films typically portrayed the romantic male lead as a Soft Bad Boi, so in the framework of this movie (like the book) Wickham first appears to be the Guy Who Gets the Girl.

Collins proposal scene is spot-on as an adaptation, though as stated above they take it to a misogynistic extreme and then creep us all out by shoving Mary and Collins together. 

There's no Lady de Burgh (there's no older generation character al all), but the Rosings scene made Elizabeth seem super immature, which was unnecessary, and it throws in the Wickham reveal abruptly. Darcy's blossoming respect and affection for Elizabeth is also a surprise, as we have no sense of why he has feelings (the menfolk enjoy zero character development in this adaptation).

The Wickham elopement was handled well, though they leaned into the money aspect (a gambling addiction) which undermined the ruined-woman aspect of it for Lydia (and consequently, her post-Wickham story is thrown out the window). 

I do appreciate that they staged a Scottish-themed Vegas wedding chapel. It was a nice hat tip to Gretna Green and, they also didn't really cut any scenes from the book...until the final 10 minutes of the film. So it was a bit off-kilter in which bits the director thought were essential to the story.


A ridiculous adaptation that gets a bit cringey at times. If they didn't treat Collins and Bingley as they did, I could recommend it as a fan romp. 

But if you're feeling nostalgic for a 90's-era Jane Austen adaptation, I recommend Clueless instead.

About the author of this post: I'm Beth: a bookwyrm, history geek, hobby baker, Austen fan, and collector of pastimes. Henry Tilney and Elizabeth Bennet are my Austen fictional crushes, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me. I can be found blogging at https://bethwyrm.blogspot.com/ and creating general nonsense at: https://www.instagram.com/goddessbeth/https://www.tiktok.com/@artemishi, and https://twitter.com/ArtemisHi.
Find more posts from Beth here
Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!

[note from Misty: someone pat me on the back for not making a "Prude & Prejudice" joke.


  1. Good to get your summation, Beth! I've seen it pop up in my Amazon recs b/c of my reading/watching patterns, but never got interested in it. Good to see I haven't missed much.

    1. You're missing nothing by skipping this one. :D

  2. I was Mormon and living in Provo when this movie was made. I loved it back then. I'm no longer Mormon now and can see how toxic this movie was. Oh, man. I am getting a bit of PTSD just thinking about this movie and the toxicity of the singles wards I was apart of...It's not too far off what a typical singles congregation was like. Yikes.

    Good for you, Beth, for sticking it out!

    1. Good for YOU, for getting to a healthier place! It scares me to think that was "normal culture" portrayed in the movie and not an overblown approach for dramatic points. Yikes.

  3. When I look back at 90s films so many of them have really problematic elements. This piece hasn't put this film to the top of my to watch list!

  4. Have seen this when I search for P &P. Had always wanted to watch but reading your comments now, it seems a good idea to delay or not to watch at all.

  5. Never watched this although I believe I've come across it before. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. It definitely looks like one I can skip.


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