our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


Keira Knightley

Well. Finally saw the recent Jane, the one with Keira Knightly. I fell in love with it. I know -- it's not Jane, not authentic Jane, for reasons below. But it's Jane now, the one we want. The atmosphere is so real. Just what it would be to live as Elizabeth Bennet. And so beautiful, as eyes first see the world. As she left her father, his reaction (Donald Sutherland): that is exactly what it is to be blessed with daughters.
Forgive us Keira, our hanging onto our 'reasons', loving them better than what is before our eyes. You are magnificent.


Elizabeth saw the new Pride and Prejudice and was heartily disappointed. It has no soul, she says. It's not so much that things are changed from the novel (though it hurts that Wickham and Darcy's sister -- *Eliza's relationships with them* -- are slashed to nil). It's that the sense of Austen as a living breathing being is lost.

There's a fatalism in those times expressed by decorum, but it's an enlightenment fatalism, a being true to your soul while minding the place the gods have set you into; a fatalism with a Greek spin, very Thomas Taylor. You are good to people because you believe in the Forms, but you have a sense of humor about it all. That's Austen. Eliza Bennet would never tell her mama to shut up, no matter how much the audience wants her to. She's headstrong, not stubborn, not without reason and regret. Reason is all: she's about learning. And yes, with pheromones everywhere, the yearning is rightly strong, but body and soul and mind remain one... above all, Austen is consciousness.

Or so I gather from my own young Eliza on the phone.

Well. I'll have to see. I suspect it has to be an improvement on the old Olivier version which truly played to its times, but I think you likely need an Emma Thompson to capture Jane Austen in two hours... and actresses with real soul burning bright yet quiet and deep in their blood. Kate Winslet. Jennifer Ehle. Lynn Collins. Knightly is a love and admirable, but she's always Knightly. I hope someone will help shape her great spirit into a great actress, rather than just exploit and enforce her natural Keira-ness.