Wright wastes no time in squeezing the plot into his just-over-two hours running time, but the film never feels rushed, particularly when so much of it is spent watching and waiting, as the characters come to understand the world they live in.
Dare I say that even Jane Austen herself would have delighted in the final triumph of Ms. Knightley's quick-witted Elizabeth in this film? Yes, I do, and all the highbrow and middlebrow cinephobes of the world be damned.
If young audiences respond to it at all -- as I am sure they will -- it will be because Wright has brought out the vigor in Austen's romance in a way that the other adaptations I've seen never quite accomplished.
At a time when we seem to be inundated by one gruesome, depressing movie after another, it's reassuring to see an elegant man's pride and a stubborn woman's prejudice reach the lushly realized assertion that love conquers all.
With the BBC's 1995 miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle still regarded as the definitive treatment of the book, it will be an uphill struggle to win audiences to what is neither a faithful rendition nor a very interesting new interpretation.