Pride & Prejudice & Gays Review
Period Drama, Romance, 17 min
We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re in your mother’s Jane Austen novel.
If it was Rizzo’s intention to get us to ask for more, she can congratulate herself. We want more.
Like many canonical literary works, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has been subject to numerous adaptations, including the BBC’s 1995 limited series with Colin Firth, Joe Wright’s 2005 feature film starring Keira Knightly, and even Burr Steer’s bizarre 2016 zombie apocalypse. Now, there’s finally a gay and drag version, and it’s everything you could’ve hoped for.
Limited by the time constraints of a short film, Didi Rizzo’s Pride & Prejudice & Gays manages to squeeze in the main themes of Austen’s novel, such as class divisions and forbidden love, in addition to the opulent balls that are so characteristic of her work. Faithful to the original, Rizzo’s Darcy is a proud and rich suitor who’s been told by their aunt, Lady Catherine, that they must find a wife. Unfortunately for Lady Catherine, Darcy’s got his heart set on “that poor girl,” Elizabeth Bennet.
There is much that sets this version apart from the others, but it goes without saying, that the most important difference is the glamorous drag that brings a burst of modern color into the film. Lady Catherine was always a character that lent herself to extravagant costumes, but even then, it’s difficult to have imagined something as well done as what we see here. Add to that Shea Coulée’s five-star performance which combines both the upper class flamboyance of a spoilt rich girl with a family-bred disdain for the working classes, it’s easy to forget that Lady Catherine is originally a pretty marginal character.
This is not to say that Darcy (Lizzie Bourne) and Elizabeth (Miriam Moss) don’t do a spectacular job of reenacting that push-pull kind of romance that made Austen’s novel so unique in its time. It’s particularly impressive the way the couple transmit this tension in the dance scene, keeping just enough distance so that the audience can feel the restraint each is exercising over their own body. This sexual tension is then further emulated by the music, a beautiful unison of bold sounds, like the electric guitar and heavy bass, with delicate instruments, such as the single violin melody that floats over the former.
In conclusion, if it was Rizzo’s intention to get us to ask for more, she can congratulate herself. We want more. Seventeen minutes feels like a cruel teaser of what would most certainly be an unforgettable feature film. Rizzo, if you’re reading this, please take note of our demands. In the meantime, if you haven’t seen her short film, you can look for it in this year’s Wicked Queer Boston Film Festival.
You can find Pride & Prejudice & Gays and other similar shorts in this year’s Wicked Queer Boston Film Festival.
The Techy bit
To find out more about the cast, crew, genre and where you can get this film, check out the LesFlicks Film Database.
This article was written by:
Isidora has written for various student papers, offering articles from film reviews to opinion pieces that often had Latin American cultural events or productions as the focus of the piece.
She has just graduated from her MPhil in Comparative Literatures from the University of Cambridge, and will be going on to do her PhD in Hispanic Studies in Toronto.