When did Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy fall in love with Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice?
Ever since the acclaimed Pride and Prejudice mini-series from BBC starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle became an instant hit, it has enchanted fans of the romantic classic from Jane Austen for years. However, even a long-time fan may not know the exact moment, as according to the original screenwriter, when Mr. Darcy fell head over heels for Elizabeth Bennet in this beloved romantic tale. What's your guess? (Caution: spoilers)
Many of us can probably even recite the key lines from this favorite romantic drama. We know the story by heart: The aristocratic Mr. Darcy was invited to a country ball and met a local girl, Elizabeth Bennet (nicknamed Lizzy.) They didn't see eye to eye when they first met, but eventually Darcy realized he was in love with her. His proposal was rejected, however, because Lizzy detested him for his arrogance. A happy ending is guaranteed once misunderstandings were resolved and the hero proved his worth.
If you have watched the series, whether once or 100 times, here's an intriguing question for you: When was the exact moment that Mr. Darcy realized he was in love with Miss Bennet?
We know it wasn't love at first sight, despite the two extremely charming and charismatic leads.
When they first met at the local dance, Darcy didn't want to dance with Elizabeth and even spoke loud enough for her to hear.
When they met again, Elizabeth returned the favor by declining Darcy's offer to dance.
Darcy was by now interested in Elizabeth, but it doesn't mean he had fallen in love with her.
There are two scenes here that I believe are pivotal and telling for us romance detectives. Take a look, as one of the scenes was confirmed by the screenwriter, 15 years later, to be the moment when Darcy realized he "fancied" Elizabeth.
Video #1: Lizzy walks to Netherfield and runs into Darcy:
Video #2: Darcy takes a bath and then sees Lizzy from the window:
(This 19th-century bath scene is the equivalent of our 21st-century shower scene.)
Awarding-winning and respected screenwriter Andrew Davies finally told us the answer 15 years after the mini-series was made.
In an interview, Davies revealed the instruction he wrote in the screenplay. After her sister Jane had taken ill while visiting Mr. Bingley's home at Netherfield, Lizzy went to visit her sister. She decided to walk. Along the way she stepped into the muddy field but she didn't care, for by then we all knew Lizzy was the kind of girl who was independent, intelligent, well educated, and loved nature. When she finally saw Netherfield, she was muddy and flushed from walking, and she "almost" ran into Darcy.
Andrew Davies wrote, "This is the moment when Darcy suddenly realizes that he fancies Elizabeth very much and to his surprise he finds that he's got an erection." Davis said that he wrote it to make people laugh but also "for Colin to choose this as the moment when he's just got to act, being tremendously turned on."
In other words, Darcy was "passionately" in love with Elizabeth. This is truly an important revelation. The scriptwriters and the actors worked together to bring Jane Austen's perfect man of early 19th century vividly alive. Darcy was a real man, a man of integrity and good manners but he also possessed abs and passion. He wasn't just someone who looked elegant and spoke refined lines of genteel dialogue.
The reason I also showed you the second video is because, in my opinion, this scene further illustrated Darcy's yearning for Lizzy. When I first watched it, I interpreted it as Darcy seeing Lizzy as someone different from the snotty, rigid, and biased women like Miss Bingley. As the screenwriter clued us in 15 years later, Darcy was already in love with her before the bath scene took place. But, I believe this scene is where Darcy was now firmly clear in his mind that he was in love and there was no return. Of course, in between the two scenes presented here, Darcy realized how intelligent and uniquely lovable Lizzy was. He's a smart man to have fallen for her.
Pride and Prejudice has been made into dramas on the screen many times, but this particular version starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle has been praised as the most beloved and romantic. The mini-series format also allows a more thorough interaction between the characters and a more enjoyable experience for the audience.
I suppose the next question is:
When did Elizabeth Bennet fall for Mr. Darcy?
What do you think?
Also check out this fun comparison: Who is more perfect? Lee Min Ho in Boys Over Flowers or Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice