Many thanks to Movie, Movie, Blog, Blog for hosting April Showers Blogathon 2017. I enthusiastically urge you check the link below for more posts on other movies that use rain to enhance its movie experience:
After a particularly harsh Winter, it feels natural to welcome Spring with some sort of celebration. Being able to stay outside for long periods of time, you are able to see nature bursting with new life as it graces us with images and scents of blooming flowers, fresh air and wet green grass. As it rains, you can feel the growth of new beginnings. As true with most things in life, there is an upside and a downside. The negative reactions to change could also include degrees of fear, uncertainty, and apprehension. As a result, people tend to be a bit anxious about changes, especially when it affects their future, like a new love.
Nothing affects the future like a budding romance in the Spring. It is one of nature’s strongest forces. However, no matter how glorious it feels to be in love, there is a stark reality. There is no guarantee that it will last, forever. In the United States, 50% of all marriages end in divorce and many, who don’t divorce, wish they could have chosen a different spouse. The positives and negatives of Spring romances are a reality that affect life on this planet, for better and worst.
No one understood these Spring Romances better than Jane Austen in her novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813). She presents rules, obstacles and warnings of how to, and not to, fall in love with the wrong person. The main characters, Elizabeth Bennett (Lizzy) and William Fitzgerald Darcy, represents a couple who struggle with these rules. They approach each other with as much honor and passion as any knight on a battlefield. The emotional duel between these two head strong, intelligent people is like nothing ever written before; even when compared to Shakespeare‘s standards of fearsome love battles: Beatrice and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing or Katherine and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew. Austen’s Lizzy and Darcy tangle with the Forces of Nature too; and no amount of reason or strong will can stop them from hating the fact that they are falling in love, despite their best efforts not to do so.
Of course, the real test of this classic tale is to transfer their love battle to the Hollywood screen, with all its explosively charged passions still in tact within the confines of polite society. How does a film maker translate this magical and sensual tale to the screen and still be true to the book? How do you take people from another time in multi-layered clothes, who are not allowed to touch each other, let alone talk openly or privately without a chaperone, appear sexy and passionately in love for a modern audience?
In my humble opinion, Director Joe Wright‘s film, Pride and Prejudice (2005), had accomplished just that. It is the most beautiful and sensual retelling of any romantic classic that I have ever seen. It is so beautifully made, I believe it is visual poetry. And poetry, as we all know, is the language of love.
How does Wright make a classic love story into poetry on film? It is accomplished with careful and artistic use of the movie making elements of cinematography, filming in lush locations, employing the right melodic music, having a great story, with wonderful actors set in lavish sets and costumes. And perhaps, and even more importantly, the use of the Seasons with its natural elements. Much of this film’s imagery, is a product of an artistic utilization of the natural landscape and weather. Since April Showers is the theme of this post, and romance is the background, I want to focus on one a scene in this movie that uses rain, in particular, in conveying the emotional tone and the movement of the story..
Summary for Essential Scene
During 19th century Merry England, the Industrial Revolution was soon to begin as the war with Napoleon was nearing its end. On the home front, life was routine. Women, for centuries, were needed to help increase their family’s fortunes by marrying wealthy men. They were not allowed to inherit the family fortune if there was a male relative about who could inherit instead. These woman faced eviction if these male relatives so chose (Entailment in Property law).
The Bennett Family consisted of a Mother, Father and five daughters. With no sons to inherit, an estrange male cousin, Mr. Collins, will inherit the Bennett estate, Longboure, once the Father passes away. So being a good mother, Mama Bennett (Brenda Blethyn), who has a complete lack of any tack or finesse, finds it imperative to hunt and capture good husbands for her young daughters.
This is made very difficult, because the money that should have been saved to add to their dowry (to attract suitors) was foolishly overspent on new dresses and frills to lavish on her favorite daughters and the home. Father Bennett (Donald Sutherland) basically lets Mother Bennett have her way in most cases to avoid listening to her nagging. Elizabeth loves and admires her father’s witty intellect. She finds solace in her father’s company when they discuss and debate concepts introduced by the books they have read. Thanks to her parent’s unhappy marriage, Elizabeth is determined to marry for love, only. Poor Elizabeth, due to the family’s unfortunate circumstances, Mama Bennett is near manic and extremely manipulative in her matching making efforts. You know the philosophy: The ends justified the means.
At every opportunity, she would “present” her daughter’s before men of wealth, usually at local dances. Jane (Rosamund Pike) is the eldest and prettiest daughter. She is a very sweet natured young Lady; but, she is also extremely shy. Jane and Elizabeth are each others confidante. The family relies on Jane to find the wealthiest husband in order to save them from poverty. Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) is the second daughter and also very pretty. She is very intelligent with an independent spirit. She doesn’t always filter her words when she speaks her mind. Which is a huge turn off for most men.
When Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) and Elizabeth eyes first connect, they both like what they see. This is why Elizabeth asks Mr. Darcy if he likes to dance. His response is: Not if I can help it. It is too crowded and loud to continue the conversation. It is at this same dance that Jane attracts the attention of a new wealthy neighbor, Charles Bingley (Simon Woods). He walks up and introduces himself, his two sisters, a brother-in-law and his best friend, Mr. Darcy. He asks Jane for a dance. Mama Bennett is pleased to be sure; but, she sees the wealthier, Mr. Darcy, standing behind his friend. Without missing an opportunity, Mama Bennett begs Darcy to dance with one of her daughters; then, she nearly pushes Lizzy ( Elizabeth) on Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is naturally embarrassed. Darcy who is completely disgusted by Mama Bennett’s obviously crass attempt at “head hunting” turns his back on them all and stalks off. Shocked by his rudeness, Lizzy is equally disgusted by his snub.
Elizabeth soothes her mothers hurt feelings and her own by agreeing that Mr. Darcy is “ill-favored” despite his wealth. He does appear arrogant and haughty; but, in his defense, he is overly shy and inept at social function. So much so, that when he gets nervous, he tends to stutter. Of course, Mother Bennett agrees with Lizzy; and, advises her never to dance with “the man” even if he asked her too. Elizabeth promises never to dance with Mr. Darcy.
Later, Elizabeth hears Charles Bingley trying to urge his friend into dancing. He compliments Jane, “She looks like an Angel” and says that Lizzy is quite handsome too. At this, Darcy went to a place, no man in his right mind, should ever go. Miss Austen, please excuse my paraphrasing.
He says: She is not handsome enough to tempt me. I didn’t come here to give “consequence” (boobie prize) to girls who have been rejected by other men.
Oh yeah, Darcy went there. Guess who over heard it? Yep, Elizabeth. The War is on! So, what does a young, powerless women do to get back at someone who has insulted her very core? You heard the expression: A best defense, is a great offence. Lizzy perseveres and pretends, it did not bother her. Then, she smiles the most dazzling smile she has ever smiled before, and looks straight into the eyes of Mr. Darcy, as she sides pass him on the crowded dance floor. She then finds her closet friend to whisper what Darcy had said. He is still watching (bewitching?) sees both woman look back at him and laugh.
The lines are drawn; yet, we know both Darcy and Lizzy cannot continue this confusing entanglement for too long. She believes the horrible lies and gossip about Darcy. He constantly reminds himself of her common breeding. At every opportunity she tries to avoid him; and, if she cannot avoid him, she sarcastically teases him about his pride. He interprets this as a coy flirtation.
When Darcy hears that someone said Elizabeth was the Local Beauty, he not only says that it must have her mother who said it; but, he also adds that her mother must have been a “wit” or joking. All awhile, Darcy continues to fall helplessly in love with her; until, he cannot take it anymore. He decides to degrade himself and declare his love. He knows that Lizzy must agree that she is very fortunate to have him propose since he is her superior. He understands that he has much to lose, his reputation, family respect and his own self respect…”but it cannot be helped.” Elizabeth has everything to gain. How could she refuse him?
Just before he proposes to Elizabeth, they attend Church service. She is told by Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, that Darcy bragged about helping his friend Bingley dodge the marriage bullet with an “unsuitable” young lady. Lizzy knew that the unsuitable young lady was her dear sister Jane. Elizabeth also understood that Darcy destroyed her sister’s happiness and possibly her family’s as well. This truth, along with the many lies told to her from Mr. Wickham (Darcy’s enemy), is overwhelming. Elizabeth runs from the Church just as a thunder storm is about to break loose. Darcy runs after her, and finds her under a stone pavilion, sheltering herself from the storm. This is the climax of the movie. Here, Director Wright creates a vividly visual poem . I have included a link below to watch this magnificent scene. Confrontation and open truth, can be brutally painful; but, it can also cleanse the spirit for change. The rain, music, and emotions are one. Their sounds are as vital as any lover’s heartbeat.
Even with the Academy Award winning music by Dario Marianelli , the lush locations, brilliant cinematography by Roman Osin , and the incredible performances under Wright’s direction, this scene is unforgettable as a result of implementing the thunder storm as a leading character. It is one of the most passionate and powerful scenes in movie history. Enjoy!
The Darcy’s Proposal in the following link: