Why Everyone Should Worship Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennet

My freshman year of college, I discovered Focus Feature’s Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley. I had gone to my dorm’s front desk, eager to check out a movie for the evening, preferably something I hadn’t seen before (one time, I checked out Black Swan without any prior knowledge of the film, but that’s a story for another article). My roommate was very much into the classic novels, and as I was skimming through a binder stock full of possible movie options, I came across Pride and Prejudice, remembering that it was one of my roommate’s favorite books. I read the movie’s two-sentence plot description included within the binder, thought it sounded decent, and — keeping my roommate in mind — reminded myself that if she enjoyed the books, the movie wouldn’t be too bad.

 

But, what I didn’t know after checking out Pride and Prejudice, was that it was going to become one of my all-time favorites. Upon finishing it for the very first time, I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was that drew me to it. After checking out Pride and Prejudice for a second time that week, it hit me: Keira Knightley. It should have been obvious, seeing as she played the lead, but it was so much more than that. Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bennet, was everything to me, and here’s why:

 

1.  She's Relatable

Knightley impeccably captures Lizzie’s qualms with her family, anything from the difficulties of dealing with sisters to knowing her position as the second eldest sibling and the responsibilities that come with it. Anyone who’s an older sibling knows the struggle of having to keep your younger siblings from making complete and utter fools of themselves. Bless Knightly for capturing our daily toil.

 

2.   She's Savage

My favorite line in the entire movie comes within the first 13 minutes. In the scene, Lizzie and her family are attending a public ball. They meet Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley, both of whom are considered upper-class as opposed to the middle-lower class Bennet family. During the ball, Lizzie asks Darcy if he dances, to which he replies, “Not if I can help it.” Not long after, she overhears Darcy call her intolerable, in comparison to her older sister Jane. Later that evening, Lizzie finds herself in conversation with Bingley, Darcy and Jane, in which Darcy has posed the question of the ways in which one should ‘encourage affection’ towards another. Lizzie replies with, “Dancing, even if one’s partner is barely tolerable,” followed by a power walk away from him. Now talk about a woman in control.

 

3.   She's a Fighter

Lizzie Bennet wouldn’t be who she was without her spunk, thanks to Knightley. She’s always attempting to put her best foot forward for her and her family, and that means fighting for what’s right. After Lizzie rejects a proposal from her distant cousin, Mr. Collins (I know, I know... it’s extremely gross), Mrs. Bennet grows cross with her, calling her foolish. Lizzie tries to explain to her mother, to no avail, that she doesn’t love him so she can’t marry him. Knightley does a fantastic job of showing, emotionally, the importance of fighting for what you believe in, despite what others think.

 

4.   She Admits to her Mistakes

SPOILER ALERT! If you didn’t already know, Lizzie and Darcy fall for each other at the end of the movie. One of the most heartwarming scenes is when Lizzie makes her way into her father’s study to ask for permission to marry him. She admits, “I’ve been nonsensical…you see he [Darcy] and I are both so similar, we are both so stubborn.” Knightley perfectly captures the disbelief that Lizzie feels of having unfairly judged Darcy’s character, as well as her rapturous joy and love for him.

 

5.   She's Lovable

Keira Knightley has found a way of evoking every aspect of Lizzie, making her the special character that she is to many readers and movie enthusiasts alike. Lizzie Bennet is 100% lovable; she has Mr. Wickham (an officer of the militia), Col. Fitzwilliam (Darcy’s cousin), Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins all crushing on her, plus the admiration of her best friend Charlotte, her four sisters, and most importantly, her father. While watching the movie, you too will feel the urge to become Lizzie’s best friend.

 

I’ve watched Pride and Prejudice too many times to count within the past four years. I actually just recently watched it last week. While watching the movie, my current roommate heard the movie sound track from another room, walked up to me with a grin on her face, and said, “Alex, are you watching Pride and Prejudice again?”, mouth full of popcorn I responded, “…no…” After a few seconds passed, we just looked at each other and cracked up laughing, because we both knew I was a terrible liar and that this wouldn’t be my last Pride and Prejudice viewing. I can’t help it — Keira Knightley is my idol!