This is quite a hot topic among the Jane Austen aficionados, me being one of them. If you followed our round robin story earlier in the year you might have guessed that Mr. Darcy is a hero to die for. But which actor best portrayed Jane Austen’s vision?
There are those who favor the Laurence Olivier version, for the acting of course. I watched it the other night, just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, but honestly, I couldn’t get past the Victorian costumes, so for me it is not even in the ball park.
The BBC version did a fabulous job with the scenery and the clothing and the dialogue was so close to the original, you couldn’t fault it. But boy, is it ever looooong. One needs to set aside a week end to watch it. And of course I do.
And the 2005 movie took a completely different take, going earlier, which was in factor correct, since Jane Austen wrote it long before the Regency period. Life at the Bennet household was earthier, more countrified (remember that boar) and the costumes were a bit all over the place, but it appealed to a movie going audience of today.
Colin, of course, had that amazing wet-shirt scene. It set many hearts aflutter. I really liked the scene where he so obviously takes his frustrations out in the fencing gallery. As a writer, I really have to admire the showing in that scene. But was Colin in that role, the Mr. Darcy in my head, the Mr. Darcy I thought Jane Austen wrote about. He certainly achieved the remoteness needed at the beginning, but I never felt he got past that, I never felt that he warmed up.
Matthew seemed to be a young Mr. Darcy. I felt that his character matured during the course of the movie, something a writer is looking for in a protagonist, a character arc. Where he was quite sure of himself at the beginning, he became less and less sure as time went on, and more vulnerable to Lizzie. Which stripped away what he thought about himself, and left him open. I found that very romantic. There is a lightness about the way he played the part, not light weight, but a light touch, which drew me to believe in his character.
I guess you can tell on which side of the fence I ended up on. Who did you prefer? And if you figured it out--why?