Deborah Moggach’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’ makes long-lasting impact

As part of our Sister Series, FF2 Media’s Giorgi Plys-Garzotto and Carlotta Plys-Garzotto discuss their favorite films by female filmmakers. Be sure to click on the film titles for full reviews.


Giorgi and Carly’s family has been obsessed with 2005’s Pride and Prejudice for as long as they can remember, so they spent a Facetime hang rewatching their fave and talking about what Deborah Moggach’s writing brings to Jane Austen’s classic! In addition, Kiera Knightley deserves credit for a powerhouse performance. Read on for a sister take on a sister movie!

GPG: So what jumped out at you about this woman’s writing?

CPG: I think the script is really full bodied, in that there are always side conversations going on, and if you pick up on them it’s important information, you know?

GPG: Absolutely. I feel like the way the household always has this atmosphere of chatter, like everyone’s always talking at once, and none of that is really in the book, so that’s very much the female screenwriter’s invention. Like the way Mary is written, that’s pretty much all the screenwriter.

CPG: That was a huge character.

GPG: Yeah, her little subplot with her falling in love with Mr. Collins.

CPG: So how do you feel like the atmosphere of chatter pushes the narrative forward?

GPG: Well, one main part of the narrative is that their family is really crazy, so this shows how they’re all just constantly acting out. So then when they go to a ball you can think, oh they’re off embarrassing themselves, even when they’re not on screen. And the whole book is a satire about how crazy their society is, so the more crazy stuff you hear people say the more that point gets across.

CPG: That’s so true.

GPG: Like a lot of this was mostly made up; many scenes are new or new-ish. Like the scene with Charlotte and Kiera Knightley, for instance. 

CPG: I need to reread the book.

GPG: She never says “don’t you dare judge me Lizzy,” for instance. That’s not a very Jane Austen-y thing to say. 

CPG: So that’s cool that she gave more of a voice to more of the women in the book. 

GPG: And she filled out the gaps in why people are doing things very well. It’s so relatable when Charlotte says “I’m 23 and I’m already a burden on my parents! I have no prospects!” 

CPG: That would be a good Tiktok. 

[Both laugh]

CPG: I was thinking about how similarly to Little Women, it’s really the sisters and their daily life and relationship that carries the novel and the movie.

GPG: Yeah, very women-driven. An ensemble cast. I think that says a lot about how men’s stories are all like “hey, I, the only hero, did this” and then women’s stories are like “I depend on my family, I care about people in my life, etc.”

CPG: Yeah. Emotions.

GPG: Yep.

CPG: What’s your favorite part?

GPG: I really like the part with Lady Catherine De Bourgh. 

CPG: When she comes to Lizzy’s house or when Lizzy goes to her house?

GPG: When Lizzy goes to her house. Because it’s like this foil to the whole Merryton life we’ve seen so far. Like Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, their environment at Netherfield is different but they’re still outsiders, and now Lizzy is kind of in the belly of the beast in that scene. I noticed there’s this one part where they’re all eating soup and there’s this part where, I think it’s Mr. Collins and Fitzwilliam eating soup in unison. Like bringing the spoons up to their mouths at the same time. 

CPG: What do you think that means?

GPG: Well I think they’re all following the same rules. Just mechanically…all the same.

CPG: And then Lizzy doesn’t care, and she speaks her mind.

GPG: Totally. No governess. Apropos of nothing, another success on the writer’s part was the way she wrote the dad, to kind of just be shut off and not there for people; that was well done.

CPG: True. 

GPG: What’s your favorite part?

CPG: I think when Mr. Collins comes over. He’s in both of our favorite scenes.

GPG: True. Let’s talk about male characters, actually. I feel like they all kind of share this fact of being very, ineffective at what they do, or kind of out of it all the time.

CPG: Yeah, that’s so true. They’re very unaware, especially emotionally. I guess the writing really focuses on how women are the emotional carriers, they’re the ones who get stuff done. Bingley only proposed to Jane because of Elizabeth pushing Darcy.

G: Most of the stuff that happens in the movie is just because of men being idiots, or because of women trying to stop men from being idiots. I’m trying to think of a moment where a man solves a problem all on his own actually, and I’m only thinking of when the dad goes after Lydia and Wickham, and the uncle gives Wickham all that money to marry Lydia. 

CPG: Yeah, and that’s only money. The only way they can fix problems is with money.

GPG: So women have to find other ways.

CPG: We’re the real power.

GPG: And Bingley can’t read.

[Both laugh]

CPG: Yeah, he can’t.

GPG: When Bingley leaves at the beginning of the movie, Caroline seems to have written his letter for him. She seems to have done a lot of his preparations to leave.

CPG: Or when they’re leaving the ball and she’s like “Charles, you can’t be serious.”

GPG: She takes a lot of responsibility for her brother’s choices.

CPG: I wonder who she marries…

GPG: In the book she really wants to marry Mr. Darcy.

CPG: Yeah, I felt that energy for sure. But that would just be so cold.

GPG: Yeah, in the book she’s mostly just hanging around Mr. Darcy, like “Hey, what are you doing? Tell me what you’re doing” and he’s just like “I’m reading.” On the subject of men being ineffective, there’s a scene where Charlotte and Lizzy go into Charlotte’s new house, and Mr. Collins is just talking to himself about the house, and they literally leave him alone talking in a hallway. That’s a good representation of what the men are doing in this story. He’s literally just looking out a window on his own just like “ah yes, any woman would be glad to be the mistress of such a house.”

On why sisters should watch this film:

CPG: It’s a great movie to watch together, since it focuses so much on family and sisterhood. They’re all really loyal to each other and protect each other. 

GPG: “This could all have been avoided if I had just been more honest with my sisters.” Yeah no, it’s a good watch because it’s about how women support each other and how crazy it is out there. In society. In the bourgeoisie. 

Top 5 Favorite Aspects of the Movie:

CPG: So we already talked about the writing, which is obviously a top feature, I think.

GPG: The writing by Deborah Moggach was so sensitive and thoughtful.

CPG: The camerawork really brings out the writing, in the movements around the house and through the windows. I think the director did a good job taking the lead from the writer. Costumes were great. I really liked the tension throughout the movie; there are no sex scenes at all but they keep it intense. 

GPG: Totally, I think it can be summed up by this tweet I saw that says “Jane Austen understood that true romance is standing six feet away from someone and then finally kissing after being apart for months.” So what’s your number five?

CPG: The music is gorgeous. It’s so dramatic and so emotional. I love listening to it starting out the window.

GPG: Yeah. Our mom (for the readers at home) plays this music every time we have a dinner party. Okay I’d say my top five are the performances, I’d say the actors really killed it; the writing again was brilliant; I think the set was really good, they got a great house and the scene on the Derbyshire peak was great; I like the dancing just because it’s so awkward.

CPG: And a lot happens during the dancing. 

GPG: Yeah, I like the talking during the dance scenes as the number four. But to expand on number three, I liked how the way they dance was just to touch hands and walk in a circle. And then my number five would be, hmm…the structure. I liked the plot structure. Aside from the dialogue I just liked the overall arc of the story.

CPG: So is there anything you don’t like about this movie?

GPG: No.

© Giorgi Plys-Garzotto & Carlotta Plys-Garzotto

Photo credits: Focus Features

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