So first of all, Happy Thanksgiving!
So I was watching this film as I like Hallmark and it is a Thanksgiving film, perfect for the day, but then it got me thinking…it reminded me of something…
And then it hit me over the head!
It reminded me of a certain Jane Austen story:
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)
But is this film really a modern take on Pride & Prejudice? Or is it just borrowing some elements of it? Let’s take a look!
Emily Jones, (E for Elizabeth?), is the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade coordinator. She loves her job and vintage things; choosing to shop and thrift stores and live her life appreciating the past. She is currently engaged to a marine biologist, who is full of himself and doesn’t appreciate Emily but wants to change her into something, “better.”
Emily has a best friend, Donna, who helps her with finding her vintage clothing and offers her advice. Emily’s life is going great until she gets the ultimate slap in the face; the city has hired an efficiency consultant, Henry Williams (Will as in FitzWILLIAM Darcy?), to cut costs in the parade.
Immediately Emily doesn’t like him. Not only is he trying to destroy her favorite thing in the world, but he is wealthy, arrogant, insensitive, impossible, and hates the past as he believes modernity is the way to go. Henry thinks Emily is stubborn, impractical, prejudiced, and doesn’t understand her doggedness about holding onto the parade or her. But they are stuck together.
Henry Williams: We don’t have to like each other, but we do have to work together.
As they start working together, Henry discovers that he misjudged Emily and starts to understand and appreciate her views; changing more and more with each encounter as he opens himself up to care about the heart of the matters, rather than the money.
Emily starts to fall for him, but her pride and prejudices still keep her from realizing that he is right for her, and her fiancé, Brian, is all wrong. But when Henry decides to change nothing at all, saving the parade for her; Emily realizes she completely misjudged him in every way, and goes after him and in the end they are together.
So the storyline has quite a few similarities; the bare bones are the same. But what about the characters?
So we are going to start with Emily. Emily was born from a middle class family and has worked hard in her job to make it the best she can as she has a strong sentimental connection to it and the city. She isn’t like other people often being “out of time”, as she loves vintage and retro things of the past.
Elizabeth Bennet is born from a middle/upper class; not wealthy like Darcy or Anne Elliot or Emma Woodhouse, but her family does well. She, like Emily, isn’t always connected to the people of the day as she has her own way of doing things. She prefers walks to riding in a carriage, books to games of whist, etc.
Emily’s pride is hurt when she finds out that the city is going to not only going to try to remove something from her parade to make it cheaper, but also that they would pick an outsider to come in and make those changes. She immediately becomes prejudiced against Henry, no matter what others say about him.
Elizabeth’s pride is hurt when Darcy insults her beauty, and after that becomes prejudiced against him. When George Wickham enters her life, she knows barely anything about him but is willing to believe his testimony against Darcy, rather than Bingley who she has begun to know, as she wants a reason to dislike him even more.
Emily is dating Brian who doesn’t really care for her but who he wants her to be. Elizabeth is interested in George Wickham, who also doesn’t care for her as much as using her as an avenue to spread slander against Darcy and hopefully introduce her to a wealthy woman.
Emily decides the best way to get Henry to save the parade is to show him every facet. As they spend time together; Henry opens up a lot and the two become friends and start falling for each other. However, Emily doesn’t realize how Henry is the perfect one for him until she meets the foster care directors that took care of him when he was younger and when he decides to change nothing, but save the parade for her.
Elizabeth and Darcy don’t share the same type of closeness as the social constraints of the day don’t allow them the same kind of time together. But through the time they do spend and conversations they have, Darcy falls for Elizabeth. Elizabeth doesn’t find herself falling for Darcy until she reads his letter of explanation, hears from his servants about how they feel about him, and when he saves her family and finds her sister.
Fitzwilliam Darcy/Henry Williams
Henry Williams grew up in foster care and worked hard his whole life to achieve wealth. Along the way he closed himself off to others, not interested in developing relationships, but chasing after the dollar and making decisions primarily on logical and cool reasoning, rather than emotions.
Fitzwilliam Darcy had a life of privilege, but his responsibilities of being the only son, inheriting and caring for the land, and becoming a guardian for his sister made him focus more on decisions that made sense, rather than emotional.
At first Henry cannot stand Emily as he doesn’t understand her or like the things she likes and the way she dresses (it is strange to him that someone could love wearing used clothing). As they continue working together, he starts to like the way she acts, the things she does, and her.
Mr. Darcy at first isn’t interested in Elizabeth and he really isn’t interested in befriending anybody but being closed off. However, once they spend time together; he starts to like her conversation, her interests, and her.
In the end Henry lets down his facade and barriers allowing Emily in and trying to show her his real self He also decides that his love for Emily is more important and keeps the parade exactly the same. Not only does he save the parade she loves, but saves the actual parade by filling in for their missing Santa.
Darcy does everything he can to try and change Elizabeth’s opinion of him after hearing her objections. He opens his home to her and her family, and tries to show her who he really is under the cold drawn facade. But the thing that really proves to her his care is that he goes to see the people he vowed to never see again, pays a man he never vowed to never give money to again, and saves Lydia and the Bennet family reputation; all for Elizabeth.
Well this isn’t a direct and true adaption of the novel, I do believe that with the large similarities and the core of the characters; while not perfect…it is a modern Pride & Prejudice. And did I like it?
Yes. Whether you watch it as a modern version of Pride & Prejudice, as a cute Thanksgiving film, or a feel good Hallmark film; I thought it was cute and fun.
I like it!
So that’s our post for today. I thought it would be the perfect Thanksgiving and Jane Austen fusion. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you spent it. And don’t forget the pie!
For more Thanksgiving posts, go to You’ve Got to Accentuate the Positive
For more Pride & Prejudice film adaptations, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)
For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Candy Girls
For more modern retellings of Jane Austen, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen
For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Lemon Scones
For more bible verses, go to I’d Lay Down My Life for You: Pocahontas (1995)