Chatsworth House, part 1

 

They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!

– Pride and Prejudice

Chatsworth House, the real Derbyshire estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is believed by some to be Austen’s inspiration for Mr. Darcy’s fictional estate. The above description seems to fit, as you’ll see later. But it is certainly Pemberley for the millions of fans of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice adaptation (including myself), and it has been my dream to visit the estate since I saw Joe Wright’s film.

That dream came true three weeks ago.

There was so much to see on the estate, and everywhere I turned, there was a picture-worthy vista. To be able to even come close to doing Chatsworth justice, I’ll be doing multiple posts on the estate.

For convenience’s sake, I chose to stay at the Cavendish Hotel, located within the estate.

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My room was on the ground floor of the building on the left, with the open window in the center.

The hotel was lovely, but the view from its lawn was even lovelier:

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One way to the house was through the gate in the picture, across the field to the left, across a bridge, and on to a path to the main Chatsworth grounds. However, I only took that way on my first day, as the cows tend to take over the nearby field. The cows do get skittish around people, although I was more afraid of the, errrr, souvenirs that they leave on the grass. I took mound-free way on my second day.

The path to the house was as picturesque as you can imagine an English countryside path to be.

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You can almost imagine running into Elizabeth Bennet on one of her famous solitary rambles.
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The walk from the Cavendish Hotel to the house took about twenty to twenty-five minutes. The house is hidden from view by trees for most of the way, and you never really see it until you are quite close to it, which certainly heightened my excitement (and strained my poor neck).

I came up to the house from its northern side and made my way across the River Derwent to take the view of the house from the west.

 

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And from the plain Paine bridge, I got my first full of view of the majestic house.

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The white tarps on the northern side of the house were unfortunate, though.

Visitors are allowed to walk the fields, among the herd of grazing sheep.

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My first though was about how lucky these sheep were to live on the estate. And then I remembered they were going to end up as someone’s dinner eventually.

From that vantage point, you also get a pretty good idea of how expansive the estate really is. Can you imagine having this view from your windows?

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To be mistress of Chatsworth might be something!

 

I was so glad I made the decision to walk to the house and explore the parts of the grounds that I could, even if I knew was coming back the next day. It definitely made me even more excited for my tour of the house and gardens.

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Because the little that I saw was already overwhelmingly beautiful, and surpassed even my high expectations of a place worthy to be used as Pemberley twice. And I haven’t even seen the inside of the house or the famous gardens yet.

 

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Happy 200th Birthday, Pride & Prejudice!

Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of the publication of my favorite book of all time, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I am ill-qualified to write anything that will do justice to the book, Jane Austen and its enduring place in literature, pop-culture and the hearts of millions of women (and some men) the world over. So, instead, I’ve rounded up, from all over the interwebs, my favorite bits and pieces to celebrate the day Jane Austen gave us the gift of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy:

  • No surprise that The New Yorker’s tribute is wonderfully written and lovely. In what is a very quick read, William Deresiewicz manages to touch on the history of P&P‘s publishing, other legendary authors’ reaction to Austen and the book (Charlotte Brontë and Mark Twain hated her, Virginia Woolf called her “the most perfect artist among women, the writer whose books are immortal”), the dearth of information on Austen’s life and why we still love Pride & Prejudice so much, after all this time.

  • Because I liked that New Yorker article so much I clicked through to the link to Deresiewicz’s book, “A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter.” As if that title wasn’t enough, the book description sold me:

“Before Jane Austen, William Deresiewicz was a very different young man. A sullen and arrogant graduate student, he never thought Austen would have anything to offer him. Then he read Emma—and everything changed.”

If that doesn’t convince an Austen fan to buy this book, I don’t know what will.

  • This Conde Nast Traveler slideshow on the stately homes, towns and gardens all over the UK that were used as settings for either the BBC miniseries or the 2005 movie reminded me that I need to start saving for that trip to the UK. Chatsworth has been on my bucket list since, you guessed it, 2005.

  • If you need a quick reminder of what the story is about then here’s P&P  illustrated as a comic. I actually want a printout of this to pin on to my office desk cork board.
  • And again, via NPR, what is ostensibly a review of an Austen biography of sorts. What I liked about this particular article, though, has nothing to do with the book being reviewed (no offense to the author of both the book and the review). I liked the story about Albert the orangutan and the author’s thoughts on who Jane Austen would be pals with if she were alive right now (clue: one of them hosted the Golden Globes this year and the other one won two).
  • The Week’s roundup of the most bizarre retellings and reincarnations of Austen’s story is so, well, bizarre, that Seth Grahame-Smith’s zombified edition doesn’t even make the cut.  But a Twilight-esque treatment, a retelling in the “dialect of the American South” and a “Wild and Wanton” edition (Austen must be rolling in her grave) do. If I were Jane Austen, I don’t know if I’d be flattered or offended.
  • And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion. I didn’t write this for the 200th anniversary of course, but if ever you were wondering what I thought was the definitive Pride and Prejudice adaptations, here’s my sometimes rambling comparison (part one, two and three) of  the BBC production and the 2005 movie by Joe Wright. I wrote this a couple of years ago and have re-watched both since, and, instead of changing my mind, I now even feel more strongly about what I wrote. I’d love to hear what YOU think.

And so there you have it, a mishmash of the commemorations of 200 years of Pride and Prejudice. William Deresiewicz couldn’t have said it any better:

“Two hundred years—the bicentennial. Send in the tall ships. Set off the fireworks. Darcy and Elizabeth forever.”

Click the photos for their sources.

My re-reading list

I once came across a blog post about rereading books (I tried finding it again, but I couldn’t)  and I was very surprised by how many people DON’T actually reread books. Even the books they really loved, they reread very rarely. This was news to me, since I’ve always believed that rereading is actually part of reading itself.

I love rereading. I almost always come across something new I haven’t noticed before, or a new point of view, or learn to appreciate an author’s way with words or have some other form of a discovery when I read a book for the second, third or ninth time. I guess it has to do with the fact that when I read something for the first time, I am so caught up in the story that I don’t notice the nuances, the little details as I am racing through the book to find out what happens next. When take up the book again, I already know what’s going to happen (I would hope so. Haha.) so I can pay more attention to the words, the writing, etc.

I also think that changes in your life can give you a new perspective on a book. The birth of a child or the death of a loved one could make you relate to a book more, make you understand characters more. Even things that may seem shallow to some and entirely unconnected to books could give you a fresh take on an old favorite. I found Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch hilarious even before I developed my own tortuous love for a sports team. Now that I can relate to the gut-wrenching disappointment and the delirious happiness a football team can bestow on its fans, the book on Hornby’s relationship with Arsenal (yes, it is a relationship) strikes an even deeper chord with me.

Now that I’ve got my Kindle and a truckload of e-books (thanks, G!), I’ve got a full list of books I want to reread for various reasons:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – because, duh.
  • The Lord of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien- I can’t believe I’ve only read the trilogy just once. That’s just… wrong.
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton- I loved this book when I first read it in high school even if it was once of the saddest books I’ve ever come across. I borrowed it from a classmate, bought my own copy a few years down the line but I’ve never actually reread it. It was just so sad, and I’m a wuss. But it really is a beautiful book and I just need to deal with how depressing the ending is. I must keep telling myself: Lily Bart is not real. Lily Bart is not real.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – I read the Oxford World’s Classics version of this, a beautiful, small hardbound edition and I hated it. I really, really did. I don’t know if it was the translation, but the book felt so labored, heavy and dragging to me. Some sentences in the book took up TWO pages, I’m not kidding. I had to FORCE myself to finish the book, as I ALWAYS finish a book I start (there’s been only once exception to that rule of mine), even if I was so frustrated by it. I want to give it another chance, but I worry that I’ll go through all that again only to end up hating it even more.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – no, no, this has nothing to do with the fact that Michael Fassbender played Mr. Rochester in the movie version of this. Well, ok… that’s not exactly true. I’ve all but forgotten about Jane Eyre, until I found out that there was a movie on the book and that Fassbender was in it. That got my attention (wouldn’t it get yours?). When I read the book the first time, I wasn’t wowed by I think it’s high time I give the book a second chance… Maybe all movie adaptation of books should just star Michael Fassbender.
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen – three words: Captain Wentworth’s letter
  • Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman – Politics, adultery, scandal, illegitimate children, exile, betrayal: the story of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (yes, the one played be Keira Knightley) has it all and more. She lived a fascinating (if a little sad) life and I could barely keep up with everything and everyone while reading her biography the first time.
  • Anything by Nick Hornby – I’ve read all his novels and I loved them all. Funny and ridiculously (and surprisingly) insightful about music, men, football, suicide, children, women and everything else in between, nothing by Hornby ever gets old.

So that’s my reread list so far, although I’m sure there are still more books I have forgotten or haven’t realized that I want to reread. And this list is on top of the list of books I want to read for the first time.

Sigh. So many books, so little time.

So how about you, do you reread?

The Battle for my Heart, Pt. 3

And so here we are. It all boils down to this. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyan vs. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. It might as well be Pacquiao vs. Mayweather for boxing fans, the Backstreet Boys vs. *N Sync for, well, me (and for tons of other people who are ashamed to admit it, too, for sure). I’m awarding three points to the winner of for each character. The book is their story, after all and one of the greatest love stories in fiction, at that.

Jennifer Ehle vs Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet

There were some striking similarities between Jennifer Ehle and Keira Knightley in their portrayal of the second Bennet sister. There are times when they sound like each other when delivering their lines, they have similar laughs and sound the same when they were crying in that scene after receiving Jane’s letter regarding Lydia’s elopement. It was actually quite weird. But despite these parallels, I think one of them definitely outshines the other in her portrayal of one of literature’s most beloved heroines.

Keira Knightley, simply put, is a better actress than Jennifer Ehle, and, no, I’m not just saying that because she was nominated for her first Oscar for this role. Despite her having about half the screen time that her BBC counterpart has, you get more out of Knigtley than you do from Ehle. You got more “fire” from her in the scene where she interrogates Darcy while dancing at Netherfield. You actually felt and shared her embarrassment when talking to Mr. Darcy during that fateful meeting on the grounds of Pemberley. And you empathized with her during Jane’s engagement, where, although extremely delighted for her sister, Elizabeth was still wistful about what could have been her engagement, what could have been her own happy news.

I suppose this is where Knightley excelled. She took you along for the rollercoaster ride of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings, whereas in miniseries, you just watched Ehle go through the motions. Ehle is by no means a terrible actress, far from that. It just so happened that she was up against a Keira Knightley who was giving what was so far the breakthrough performance of her career.

Winner: Keira Knightley

Colin Firth vs Matthew McFadyen as Mr. Darcy

Let’s face it, Mr. Darcy is the be all and the end all of anything related to Pride & Prejudice. If you screw up casting this role, you might as well throw in the towel and turn your movie/miniseries into Mansfield Park or Northanger Abbey or some other Austen novel where the lead male could be easily played by some random, reasonably handsome, staid Englishman (please exclude Persuasion’s Captain Wentworth from this category). Thankfully, both the movie and the miniseries did fine jobs of casting Mr. Darcy.

Colin Firth, it must be said, is the more handsome Darcy. Firth, with this strong jaw line, high cheekbones and straight nose is handsome in a more traditional sense than McFadyen. It takes some time to buy into McFadyen as the dashing landlord of ten thousand a year but he more than makes up for this trivial disadvantage in other ways.

As with the other characters, Firth benefits from the additional screen time afforded by the mini-series. Through the flashbacks and expositional scenes (that weren’t even in the book), you get a better understanding of Darcy’s motivations and get a better appreciation of his efforts in finding the reviled Wickham and the doomed Lydia. So in that scene where all is revealed between Lizzie and Darcy, you really feel it when the latter says to the former, “Surely, you know, it was all for you.” (*sigh*)

But to be completely honest, as willing as I was to get kilig by Colin Firth, he doesn’t even come close to the swooning induced by Matthew McFadyen’s Darcy. While miniseries-diehards will insist that compared to Firth, McFadyen was stiff and flat, I vehemently beg to differ. McFadyen astutely conveys Darcy’s struggles in holding back his feelings for Elizabeth, feelings which overcome his pride and studied restraint. A perfect example of this is his initial proposal scene, perfectly played out in the rain in a stunning, secluded setting (who could forget “I love you. Most ardently.” ). McFadyen transitions from confident, nervous, confused, hurt, indignant and jealous in the space of a thrilling three minutes. Firth’s corresponding scene falls flat in comparison, though not entirely through his fault (I suppose he can’t help it if the scene was written that way).

Movie Darcy also wins the battle of Pemberley. In that embarrassing first meeting he catches Elizabeth running away from the house as fast as she could. The tension, the embarrassment and awkwardness between these two who so obviously have feelings for each other is so real, so relatable and so charmingly palpable in that scene (plus points for the flustered Keira Knightley, as well). In the book, Darcy’s manner towards Elizabeth takes a 180 degree turn, and the change is distinct in McFadyen yet seamless and natural. In Firth, not so much.

So who wins it for me? I finished watching the miniseries thinking it was going to be a draw, but on closer inspection, Matthew McFadyen trumps Colin Firth as the definitive Darcy. As with Keira Knightley above, I just got more out of McFadyen. As vague as it sounds, his Darcy is more layered and more complex than Firth’s. Although I knew exactly what was going to happen, movie Darcy still made me swoon and giddy and go “awwwww…” more times than I could count: when Lizzie first caught his attention at the public ball, when he unexpectedly handed her into the carriage, when he first blurted our “I love you”, when he was walking towards Lizzie at dawn (I can actually hear the music in my head), etc., etc. And isn’t that the point of Mr. Darcy: to make us swoon and kilig and believe in love?

The handsomer (hehe…) Colin Firth made me believe in love a little, too, though. So I score this two points to the movie, one point to the miniseries.

Final Tally: BBC: 3, Movie: 10

The ultimate Lizzie and Darcy

After careful and logical (I hope) inspection, the 2005 movie triumphs over the 1995 BBC miniseries. Better casting and acting wins it for director Joe Wright. A more dramatic, emotional script, no doubt dictated by the run time limitations of a movie, also outweighed the character development benefits of the longer miniseries.

So after hours and hours of watching and more hours of blogging, I ended up where I started anyway: with Pride & Prejudice, the movie, unchallenged in my heart as my favorite movie and the definitive screen adaptation of the Jane Austen masterpiece.

Do you agree or have I been blinded by MY prejudice for the movie? Let me know in the comments!

The Battle for my Heart Pt. 2

The movie had a strong showing in the previous round, thanks to Brenda Blethyn’s endearingly annoying portrayal of Mrs. Bennet, Rosamund Pike’s beauty as the eldest Bennet sister, Jane, and the unfortunate casting of the Lucy Briers as Mary in the miniseries.

In this round, let’s see if the BBC Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins, Wickham and Lady Catherine could overturn the deficit.

Crispin Bonham-Carter vs Simon Woods as Charles Bingley

The BBC Bingley

This is another tough one. On one hand, I love the Simon Woods’s red-haired, completely charming and slightly geeky Mr. Bingley. His blundering proposal rehearsal with Mr. Darcy by the lake in front of Longbourn is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. And his actual proposal is just hilariously sweet (“First, I must tell you I’ve been the most unmitigated and comprehensive ass”).

The Movie Bingley

But on one hand, I wonder if the movie Bingley was too goofy, a little too clueless. Crispin Bonham-Carter’s portrayal is still true to character (easy to please, easy to persuade, etc.) without bordering on the geeky. He also benefits from the longer screen time Bingley gets. We get more insight into his feelings, such as when we see that he hasn’t forgotten the exact day he last saw Jane when he and Elizabeth meet again at Lambton, and in his indignance in finding out that Darcy manipulated him into leaving Hertfordshire. This was a very close fight, and I myself was surprised at the result. Crispin Bonham-Carter finally scores one for the miniseries.

David Bamber vs Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins

Mr. Collins is probably the silliest character in the story, what with his famously rehearsed manners, inflated sense of entitlement and his overall ridiculousness. It would be easy to overdo it, and turn Mr. Collins into a creepy, slimy caricature. And, unfortunately, that is exactly where David Bamber took his portrayal of the future master of Longbourn. The hand rubbing, the greasy hair and that simpering smile was just overall too creepy and slightly reminded me of the creature Gollum from LOTR. Mr. Collins is unlikeable enough, it’s unnecessary to make him so creepy that you’d have nightmares about him.  Tom Hollander, on the other hand, strikes the right balance and it is believable that the Bennets would let someone like him near their daughters.

Adrian Lukis vs Rupert Friend as George Wickham

I am so tempted to award this to Rupert Friend (a.k.a. Keira Knightley’s real-life boyfriend) because, well, look at him. He is absolutely gorgeous. But in the interests of objectivity, I refuse to be swayed by Friend’s hotness and will evaluate him and Lukis logically.

The Movie Mr. Wickham

The BBC Mr. Wickham

In my opinion, they played Wickham pretty much the same way. But I’m scoring this the miniseries’ way because Lukis’ Wickham offers more hope of a happy union with Lydia than Friend’s does. Despite the knowledge that they probably both deserve the most miserable existence possible, one can’t help but feel a little pity at their lowly situation in life. At the very least, for the other Bennet sisters’ sakes, you hope that they don’t divorce/kill each other and “ruin” the family. And this is why, despite his physical advantage, the movie Wickham loses out to his small-screen counterpart. Adrian Lukis shows more affection towards Lydia and the Bennet family than Rupert Friend, whose forceful pulling of Lydia in the carriage director Joe Wright labeled as “domestic violence”.

Barbara Leigh-Hunt vs Judy Dench as Lady Catherine De Bourgh

The BBC Lady Catherine

Like I need to even explain this one, no? It’s unfair to Barbara Leigh-Hunt, really, to be matched up against THE Dame Judi Dench. Leigh-Hunt has none of the presence (physical and otherwise), none of the imposing aura that Dench has, which the role of Lady Catherine requires. In the costumes alone, the BBC version of Mr. Darcy’s aunt loses out. As the pictures demonstrate, Barbara Leigh-Hunt looks nothing like the arrogant, iron-willed matriarch she’s supposed to be, whereas Dame Judi Dench (I feel like I always have to say “Dame”) emanates wealth and power. But it’s not just the clothes that are lacking. Whereas you paid attention to the BBC Lady Catherine because you had to, you paid attention to the movie version because you’re scared of what will happen to you if you don’t. Leigh-Hunt has to resort to yelling for you to notice her, Judi Dench just has to BE THERE.

The Movie Lady Catherine

Score Recap: BBC: 2; Movie: 5

So, despite the valiant efforts of the BBC Bingley and Wickham, the deficit still remains at three points for the movie. But that lead could easily be blown away in the next round, when I award two points for each win. For the last battle, I finally tackle the BBC and movie portrayals of one of the most beloved couples in literature: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

I can’t wait! Even I don’t know how it’s going to turn out yet.

The Battle for my Heart: Pride & Prejudice the movie vs the BBC miniseries, Pt. 1

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time. Words cannot express how much I adore this book, and it’s hard to imagine this Jane Austen masterpiece being toppled from top spot in my heart. It’s almost a given, then, that the 2005 movie based on the book is my favorite movie of all time. And I loved it, not just because it was based on P&P, but because it was an excellent adaptation. The casting was inspired, the settings were absolutely breathtaking (Chatsworth! *sigh*) and the script successfully condensed everything essential to the beloved love story into two hours.

However, I did know that there was another adaptation that was more popular, more beloved by Jane Austen fans. The 1995 BBC miniseries has long been touted as the definitive Pride & Prejudice adaptation and the release of the movie didn’t change that perception significantly. My adoration for all things Darcy and Bennet dictates that I watch the BBC version eventually, but I held off. I wanted to be objective and didn’t want my love for the film to color my opinion of the miniseries. I wanted to be objective, so waited for the initial rapture over the film to subside. Five years and more than 50 viewings later, I finally purchased my BBC miniseries DVD (at 50% discount!).

So finally, I am able to evaluate both versions and determine which adaptation (and which Mr. Darcy) deserves the ultimate place in my heart. My goal is to come to that choice as objectively as possible and take into account certain advantages a 1995 miniseries would have over a 2005 movie (longer running time) and vice versa (better technology, bigger-named actors). It’s not just a matter of “oh, Keira Knightley is prettier”. No ,this’ll be logical and objective and serious and will have a points system.

First up, the Bennet Family (with the 1995 actors first). This is as much a commentary on their performances as it is on the way their characters were written for the screen:

L to R: Lydia, Mr. Bennet, Jane, Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, Elizabeth & Mary

Alison Steadman vs Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet

It’s tough to play Mrs. Bennet, the silly, overbearing, tactless but ultimately well-intentioned matriarch of the Bennet brood, without turning her into the typical annoying-mother caricature. And this is where Brenda Blethyn ultimately succeeds and Alsion Steadman categorically fails. Both their renditions of Mrs. Bennet are silly, annoying and tactless, to be sure. However, Blethyn wins it for me because despite all her faults (and there are many), she still manages to make me love Mrs. Bennet. She may nag and embarrass her children, but you could see that it’s done out of love, out of concern for their futures. Steadman, on the other hand, just comes off as irritating and downright rude, especially to Mr. Darcy. In the scene where they pick up Jane from Netherfield, she basically attacks and yells at Mr. Darcy (complete with eye-bulging intensity), which Mrs. Bennet will never do.

Benjamin Whitrow vs Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet

Benjamin Whitrow greatly benefits from the additional screen time afforded him by the length of a mini-series. Donald Sutherland, while more endearing, only has about five minutes on screen, which is barely enough time to appreciate the dilemmas faced by Mr. Bennet. In the miniseries, we get more insight into his regrets about not saving for his daughter’s futures and his warnings to his daughters about marrying a partner you don’t respect. If Whitrow only had more of Sutherland’s fatherly tenderness, especially towards Elizabeth (who could forget that final scene?), then this would have been a clear win for the miniseries. As it stands, it’s a draw.

From L to R: Lydia, Mr. & Mrs. B, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary and Kitty

Susannah Harker vs Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet

While it seems shallow to award points based onhow attractive the actors are, I think it’s appropriate in this case. Jane Bennet was described in the book as the beauty of the county, an “angel” in Mr. Bingley’s words.  And while Susannah Harker is by no means unattractive, Rosamund Pike’s ethereal, delicate beauty lives up to the lofty praise of the eldest Bennet. Pike and Harker are practically even in the acting stakes, with Pike maybe with a slight edge for her delivery of the line “Yes, a thousand times yes” (plus additional points for having to deliver that line to her ex-boyfriend Simon Woods).

Lucy Briers, Julia Sawalha and Polly Maberly vs Talulah Riley, Jena Malone and Carey Mulligan as Mary, Lydia and Kitty Bennet

This one was an easy decision for me. For the life of me, I cannot begin to understand the casting decisions for the BBC miniseries. I particularly object to Lucy Briers as Mary. The third Bennet sister can be no more than 19 years old, and Briers looks at least 30 (I’m not trying to be mean, I’m just being honest). The makeup and costume department didn’t do her any favors either with the glasses and dark circles under her eyes. The BBC producers make the same mistake in casting Lydia as well, but not to same extent as with Mary. Julia Sawalha looks much older than the 15 year old girl she plays.

On the acting and character development front, the BBC Mary disappoints as well. She was written as dreary, tiresome and like she thought she was better than everybody else. I swear, I needed to suppress the urge to throw the remote at the TV whenever Mary (and Mrs. Bennet) appeared on screen. Talulah Riley’s Mary was still dull and dreary (Mary is supposed to be like that), but more because she was awkward, a little clueless and had different interests from her sisters. You feel sorry for her, as you would for a sister who is overshadowed by the beauty of the elder ones and by the rambunctiousness of the younger set. Case in point: in the scene where Mary is asked to stop playing and singing, Riley touchingly bursts into tears. As for the Kittys and the Lydias, both sets of the two youngest Bennets are appropriately giggly, boisterous and boy-crazy. It’s just more acceptable behavior in girls who actually look like teenagers. But I won’t deduct points for that twice.

Score Recap: BBC: 0; Movie: 3 (I didn’t score for draws)

So, in this round, despite my valiant endeavors at objectivity, the movie Bennets pretty much hammered the BBC Bennets. Let’s see if the BBC can overturn the deficit in the next round where I evaluate the other minor characters.

What do YOU think? Have I been too harsh on the BBC Bennets? Has my love for the movie made the miniseries suffer in comparison?