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On April 27th, The Frida headed to 19th century England with Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of the classic novel Pride & Prejudice and Arvida Book Co.’s Movies n’ Books Club – marking their first sold out screening!
You read that right – over 200 guests donned their Netherfield ball-worthy gowns, pearls, and gloves to sip on tea and watch one of the most gorgeous romances put to paper on the big screen. Attendees were also treated to a delightful preshow from our very own Austin Jaye, featuring behind the scenes looks at the film, director’s commentary, and interviews with the star studded cast; immersing everyone in Jane Austen’s world before the lights dimmed and Keira Knightley walked on screen (her petticoat six inches deep in mud, looking positively medieval).
As is Movies n’ Books Club tradition, we also served a themed cocktail, Pemberley Gardens – a light and airy lavender lemonade suited for a stroll on Mr. Darcy’s estate with enough of a vodka kick to make Mr. Collins’ cringe-inducing proposal somewhat bearable. After posing for “portraits” with our ballroom background (complete with photo props, flowers, and Neo from The Matrix), it was time for all to take their seats and be swept away by the deliriously delicious combination of Roman Osin’s breathtaking cinematography, Dario Marianelli’s transcendent score, Jane Auten’s timeless story, and Joe Wright’s thoughtful direction. Wright is the undisputed King of the Period Piece for a reason, and Pride and Prejudice may very well be his magnum opus. His ability to take a beloved classic and inject it with a breath of fresh air and biting humor while remaining so true to the source material is truly unparalleled.
I can’t forget to mention how much of the success of this film also hinges on the performances of its cast, specifically its two leads, Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFayden. It is so easy to take the source material of Pride and Prejudice and make it stuffy and somewhat impersonal, but the subtle choices made by MacFayden and Knightley light up the screen with pure chemistry and passion. So much so that Macfayden’s improvised “hand-flex” scene made an entire audience of 200 people gasp and clap as if it was their first time seeing it. A romance drama where the leads only kiss one time still bewitching audiences, body and soul, 18 years after its release with its sensuality, humor, and beauty can only be made possible by a kismet collaboration between artists – and we’re so grateful the stars aligned to make this film a rewatchable classic that always leaves the viewer with chills – whether it be their first watch or their tenth.
Once the screen faded to black and tears were wiped away with tissues, the Movies n’ Books Club took to the stage for a thoughtful discussion comparing the book to the film, giving all who participated new insights to one of literature’s finest masterpieces. Make sure to join us next month for David Fincher’s Fight Club on May 25th and pick up your copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel at Arvida Book Co. in Tustin to prepare for another outstanding evening with the Movies n’ Books Club.