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Pride and Prejudice
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Cast:Simon Langton, Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle

Transforming Jane Austen's intricate, subtly satiric novels into suitable screen fare is not an easy accomplishment, but this five-hour BBC version of her most-loved work makes the transition from page to screen brilliantly. The courtship rituals between the daughters of a country gentleman and their widely varied suitors are hampered by excesses of both pride and prejudice; most particularly, the courtship of the snobbish but eminently wealthy Darcy (Colin Firth) and the delightfully independent Elizabeth (Jennifer Ehle). Ehle perfectly captures Elizabeth's lively sense of humor and keen intelligence, while Firth persuasively portrays a man whose surface reserve masks violent emotions. While the essential plot has elements of soap-opera clich‚, Pride and Prejudice is anything but. Its clear-eyed observations of human frailty and folly and its straightforward romanticism make this impressively mounted miniseries a touching, comedic and naturalistic melodrama, satisfying to both longtime fans and Austen novices. Amy Robinson

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