I've been on a Pride & Prejudice kick lately.
Anyone who really knows me experienced shock upon reading that sentence. I'm not what you call a romantic. My idea of a date night involves comfy pants, an oversized sweater, a lot of chocolate, and binge watching action movies on Netflix. I feel Valentine's Day is an effective marketing ploy that took hold over the years and I'd rather sprain my ankle than cry over a Hallmark network movie. Disney's version of true love makes my eyes roll back in my head, but there are love stories that I admire and enjoy. Pride and Prejudice happens to be one of them.
My husband listened to our recent podcast covering Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and expressed surprise at my dislike of the book. In his mind, the only way to make the book enjoyable is the interjection of zombies. I disagreed and pointed out the subtle but vicious wit he enjoys in Downton Abbey (we love Maggie Smith). The tension conveyed through dialogue or, more poignantly, a lack of dialogue is a magical thing. Too often today's movies rely on explosions and CGI rather than writing. He expressed his disbelief.
So I was a jerk and played the poor health card so I could binge watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. My husband does this thing where he pretends that he's dying when he really hates a show. His head lolls back and he groans. It's quite dramatic. Despite his best intentions of shutting out the show and focusing on the latest update on Peyton Manning's retirement status, he giggled when Mr. Bennet subtly implied his wife missed the big picture only for her to drone on about something mundane. Only then did he admit that perhaps high school wasn't the right time in his life to read the book and he enjoyed the subtle humor.
Colin Firth's rendition of Mr. Darby gives the broodiest of vampires a run for their money. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy begin with an apparent dislike of one another, only to discover they have both been deceiving themselves. It's a classic ploy, but effective in its simplicity. Miscommunication exists everywhere. Personality conflicts also get in the way. The growth both characters must display to make a romance between the two of them believable is epic. Jane Austen makes it work. Unlike Disney' true love, their affection is messy and complicated, but it prevails.
I mentioned that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was not my favorite book, but I enjoyed the movie. My friend heard about my recent kick and suggested Pemberley Ranch. This is a rendition I can get behind. The author used the same premise, major plot points, and many of the character names, but changed enough of the details to make it his own. Remaking a classic takes more than employing a thesaurus and interjecting content. The characters must also change to fit their surroundings.
What is your favorite love story? Do you enjoy true love or are there elements that must exist to make the romance real?