How does it go with you beans? We’re back at the same time, same place a week later for the second part in this series of comparing and contrasting the Pride And Prejudice remakes both 2005 and 1995.
I got some REALLY interesting opinions on what I had to say last week, and it was great to get such an excellent response from my post!!! Thank you beans!!! If you missed that post, you can read it here to get caught up.
So, I’m don’t really like long intros myself, so I’m cool with just jumping right into the post! (But will you beans let me know about how you feel about intros? I don’t care for them at all, but I want to hear your thoughts in the comments!)
So let’s get started where we left off!
I always had a fondness for Charles Bingley. He was kind, polite, thoughtful, and adoring. He loved to have fun and could go with the flow at a moment’s notice, and he has the sweetest smile. (And his friendship with Mr. Darcy is both hilarious and underrated.) I loved him so much in the 1995 miniseries. Crispin Bonham-Carter is an excellent actor and he brought Mr. Bingley to life with so much warmth and fun.
Chat With Tea Scale: 10/10
Simon Woods brings the same wonderful Bingley energy to the 2005 adaptation. He has this dorkiness about him that was just so sweet and hilarious. He brought more of a human, almost awkwardness to the character that really worked well in this adaptation.
(NOTE: I received comments on my last posts saying that Simon Woods acted too dumb in the 2005 version, but also got comments saying that Crispin Bonham-Carter was too unintelligent in his version. *confused screaming* I suppose I never thought about this, because I always saw that it was just part of Mr. Bingley’s character to be a bit……clueless? I loved him in both, probably because he did act a little dorky-dumb in both versions. Since we’re discussing Charles Bingley today, you beans tell ME what you think of his character and his portrayals!!!!)
So I can’t really put Mrs. Bennet at fault. If Netherfield was let at last where I lived, I’d be just as excited.
Speaking of Mrs. Bennet…..
So I have an interesting take on both of the Mrs. Bennets that took me a while to figure out myself.
My mother actually started this discussion, and while originally I disagreed with her, I eventually found myself changing my mind.
Alison Steadman as the 1995 version’s P&P was hilarious. Her dramatic flair, loud wailing, and full understanding of the comedic side of Mrs. Bennet was perfect. I feel like she really channelled what Jane Austen saw in Mrs. Bennet, and it really shines through that she is giving her all in this performance. Chat with Tea Scale? 2/10
There was such a human element to Brenda Blethyn’s portrayal. While she still was hilarious and could be quite embarrassing, she felt so real and human. I could understand her feelings her mannerisms. She felt like more than just a joke played for laughs. But she felt like she had her own story and her own reasons for what she did.
I know Blehlyn did this on purpose, because she was asked about how she portrayed the character. And it truly worked beautifully, and I think it really added to this movie.
And I can’t talk about Mrs. Bennet without mentioning her hilarious, witty husband, Mr. Bennet!
I can’t say enough good about Benjamin Whitrow’s Mr. Bennet. He really does capture the heart and soul of Mr. Bennet. His wit, knowing smile, and subtle kindness was just perfectly portrayed. From the moment he said “You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They’ve been my old friends these twenty years at least.” I knew I was going to love his performance. Again, I feel like he was who Jane Austen pictured as she wrote down the scenes with Lizzy’s father. (And come on, he loves Lizzy. What more reason do we need to like him?)
While being a wonderful sort of subtly snarky, he seemed to struggle to correctly parent his daughters sometimes, which I feel was something that the book Mr. Bennet seemed to have a hard time with as well.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but his performance was just spot on. Every scene he was in was an absolute delight to watch.
Chat with Tea Scale? 8/10
Now, like I’ve said for a lot of the characters in the 2005 version (in comparison to the 1995 miniseries) they seemed to have a bit of a different take on Mr. Bennet. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible – he’s still funny and full of warmth.
His portrayal is different. He seems less…..knowing. There was less of that wit in his tone. His character seemed more like a grizzled Revolutionary War solider than a proper British gentleman. (Which I’m actually going to expound on this point later on the series.) His character was a bit more tough and seasoned and almost distant.
Which wasn’t awful or anything. There was still so much heart and love in his performance. But it was different than what I was expecting, and maybe just not for the best.
Charlotte Lucas was another random favorite of mine in the Pride and Prejudice story. I always loved her friendship with Elizabeth and her sweet disposition, although her marriage choices were somewhat questionable.
I really adore Lucy Scott in the BBC adaptation of P&P. Her kind and sweet nature makes me wish I could sit down and have nice chat with her myself some day. I loved watching her friendship with Elizabeth (I love friendship in fiction, and I think Charlotte and Lizzy are really amazing), and it always makes my heart ache to know that after Charlotte marries Mr. Collins, their relationship was never the same. *muffled crying*
Chat with Tea Scale? 10/10
I really loved Caludie Blakley in this. She played a less reserved Charlotte (I guess I’m seeing a pattern here with the 2005 and the 1995 versions), but this time I really liked her change in character. It really made her seem like a fun friend anyone could confide in. And, echoing a comment my sister made, I loved seeing her close, loving relationship with Elizabeth. And even though it made her decision to marry Mr. Collins feel a little more startling, I still loved her in this version.
There’s just no two bits about it. Julia Sawalha SLAYS in this role of Lydia Bennet.
I’m not sure exactly what is was. The tone of her voice, her mannerisms, her laugh, or just the way she looked and carried herself. But she was the perfect Lydia Bennet.
Every time she was on screen she had the perfect Lydia energy radiating off of her. Sawalha truly sold to us that she was Lydia Bennet. All of her lines were delivered to make us laugh at every single one, whole retaining a human element that was both heartwarming and groan worthy, both because we all have felt like we knew a Lydia Bennet.
Now, while I love Lydia as a character, she’s probably not the best companion a girl can have by her side (as Kitty can attest). And for that, her Chat with Tea Scale is a low 2/10.
Jena Malone did a great job at portraying Lydia. She had that smirk, yet the truly clueless-about-life-look down so perfectly. I loved her hair, makeup and dress in the 2005 version. It truly enhanced her portrayal and enhanced her as Lydia.
But at the end of the day, she just couldn’t hold an candle to Julia Sawalha’s performance. Sawalha had a special spark about her that made her performance untoppable. While I feel like I lot of the portrayals of the different characters were very similar in quality, with just directional choices separating them, I really feel like Lydia was the best in the BBC adaptation.
And that’s where we’re cliffhangering today! (Yes, the Mr. Darcys are going to have to wait ANOTHER post.) This was probably the most difficult post to write, so I dearly hope you all enjoyed my take on these characters.
Just like I said in the last post, please keep the discussion to ONLY what characters were talked about in the post to keep it on subject.
What are you thinking, beans? Do you have a preference on Mr. Bennet, Lydia, Mr. Bingley or any other characters discussed today? I WANT TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS!