Thursday, 2 January 2014

Darcy through Elizabeth's eyes

What do you look for in a portrayal of Mr Darcy?

For me, it's the casting of Elizabeth, because we only ever see him through her eyes.

Christmas 2013 finally gave us the opportunity to see Darcy and Eliza in a new light, almost 20 years after Colin Firth and that lake. Firth's very still, somber version was brought to emotional life by Jennifer Ehle's brilliantly boisterous Lizzy, a hero for tomboys everywhere. Without her performance, and a wet shirt, I think we'd have forgetten him within a week. Look at Knightley and McFadyen......

In Death Comes to Pemberley, Anna Maxwell Martin gave me the grown-up Lizzy (and Darcy) I've always craved.

And we even saw Lizzy and Darcy GETTING IT ON.

I sat stunned as I realised we were heading for a love scene, in Austen! After the initial shock I started cheering and dancing around the room. I still can't quite believe it happened.

I don't care much for a whodunnit, but I do care about Lizzy and Darcy.  I feared the worst, a Bridget Jones the third, stuck in a pre-Darcy time warp and failing to move the character on. But she was everything I expected. Bold, beautiful and still slightly frayed around the edges (and muddy around the hem). Pemberley hasn't changed her.

I fell in love all over again. Anna Maxwell Martin showed me an Elizabeth I wanted to be and Matthew Rhys played a tormented and torn Darcy, always battling between his head and his heart. Filled with pain, seething and grumpy - just how I like him.

Colin who?