If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably gotten used to my inane ramblings about tennis, a–hole kittens and my love of nearly every Jane Austen book adaptation. I will seriously watch any adaptation of an Austen novel, and I could easily devote dozens of posts to how Jonny Lee Miller is actually a brilliant Mr. Knightley and how Gwyneth Paltrow is actually an underrated Emma. But of course, internet debates tend to focus on everybody’s favorite Austen dude, Mr. Darcy. There are only two Darcys worth discussing: Colin Firth’s portrayal in the 1995 miniseries and Matthew Macfadyen’s Darcy in the 2005 film. And so begins the debate, which started yesterday with this Twitter post:
Important scientific research!
Please respond with your age and preferred Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen). I'll start:
Colin Firth pic.twitter.com/UK3a23M4hn
— E (@EisReading) November 6, 2019
I’m not sure what age has to do with it, other than a presumption – perhaps merited? – that the younger peeps might prefer Macfadyen’s Darcy. Can I just say? I love them both!! They are actually quite different portrayals but both feel authentic and canonical. With the 1995 miniseries, we got what feels like a stricter adaptation of Austen’s text, and Firth was perfect as that grumpy, misanthropic Darcy who professes his love to Lizzie like he’s annoyed with her for being cute. With Macfadyen’s Darcy, his age felt more authentic to the book, and his Darcy comes across more as a socially awkward nerd and closet romantic. And even though the movie messes with the setting of the “proposal” scene, the way Macfadyen and Keira Knightley play it… my lord. It’s amazing. Why can’t we enjoy them both?!?! Colin’s Darcy is perfect but so is Matthew’s Darcy! BRING ME ALL THE DARCYS.
(Also, for what it’s worth, I do think it’s also about the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth – Keira and Matthew had so much chemistry, as did Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle).
Photos courtesy of BBC and Working Title.