Transatlantic Movies


Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy


Awash in Jane Austen over the past two or three days, I naturally opted, given the choice, to watch the Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice during the flight over the Atlantic back to North America.  That’s at least my third viewing.  While I still prefer the much more leisurely BBC version with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, the Knightley Pride and Prejudice has its special virtues and is surprisingly good.  Colin Firth seems to have captured the Darcy role, and to have established himself as The Period Heartthrob, and with justice.  His 1995 Darcy was superb.  And his performance in The King’s Speech deserved the Academy Award in spades.  But, for the first time, I think I really began to appreciate Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal in this version.  He’s good, too.


I call it a transatlantic film not only because I watched it over the ocean but because of its (to me) curious choice of the Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, whom I first encountered when I was a teenager in the rather different film Kelly’s Heroes, to play Mr. Bennett.  But he acquits himself well.


I was tired, so, though I had some good materials with me, I didn’t do any reading.  Instead, I also watched The Adjustment Bureau, a very interesting film based on a story by the late Philip K. Dick.  It counts as transatlantic because it co-stars Emily Blunt (of Young Victoria fame).  And, because it was the first movie I could find as the flight neared completion that was short enough to fit it in before landing, I watched Safe Haven, too.  Well, most of it.  The flight landed early, and I missed the last few minutes.  Which is, perhaps, appropriate:  As far as I know, it’s not a transatlantic movie.


Posted from Atlanta, Georgia



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  • brotheroflogan

    I like the BBC version better too, but my wife pointed out that the Knightley version was really good at making the scenery real. The sheep in the background, the bigger dances, the grecian temple (which was obviously not part of the book).

    • DanielPeterson

      Very true. It’s very beautiful, cinematographically.

  • RaymondSwenson

    The first big dance in the movie is depicted through a single long scene in which the viewpoint moves continuously around the house, capturing encounters among the characters, in real time, but moving backwards. It grounds each small event in the larger context of the family and the community.

    Sutherland does a wonderful job helping us understand how worried he is that the life estate he holds in his farm is going to expire at his death and his wife and daughters left destitute, and yet he will not condemn any of his daughters to marry a man they do not love.