Pride and Prejudice movie characters, part 10

Lydia Bennet

I’m just going to dive into this character, as we have already mentioned that we’re reviewing the characters in the movie versions of Pride & Prejudice.

Lydia is pivotal to the movement of the plot, since it is her indiscretion with Wickham that gives us a deeper view of Darcy. Elizabeth had seen a change in him when she was traveling with her aunt and uncle, however it is one thing to be more open and sociable, but quite another to put yourself out as she learns Darcy has done to make things right for Lydia. Knowing he had to deal with Wickham through it all, nothing could have given Elizabeth a clearer view of how real and substantial his character makeover was.

In Lydia, we see someone who is not just a naive youngster. We are told that she steadfastly refused to leave Wickham even though they were not married, so her character is actually a mixture of youthful exuberance combined with loose morals. Lydia sought only one thing - to be with a man, and if that would be a husband, well and good. But if not, well, we know how she felt about that.

Hence when considering the portrayals of her on screen, there must be at least a hint of her lack of steady character, or to say it more plainly, lack of morals. Most of the versions don’t spend near enough time developing the Lydia character despite the importance of the part.

So, here's our review of Lydia in the movie versions we like:
1940 - Ann Rutherford is delightful in this version. But because the pace of the movie centers its main focus on Darcy and Elizabeth, there's no room to develop the character of Lydia, other than to let us know this is the girl Wickham runs off with and ends up marrying.

1980 - Natalie Ogle. Despite the length of it, this version gives Lydia very little screen time, and Natalie suffers from the same predicament as the 1940 movie.

2005 - Jena Malone is sweet and lovely, but not even close to being a good Lydia Bennet.

2004 Bride and Prejudice - Peeya Rai Chowdhary as Lakhi Bakshi actually gives our favorite a real run for her money. But because this story changes what becomes of her running off with Wickham, the result is that her character is deflated. She is turned into simply a willful, naive youth who is rescued from the clutches of the evil Wickham. Until then, she had the part down solid.

Our favorite Lydia award goes to:
1995 - Julia Sawalha... Without question, she brings all the elements of Lydia Bennet to perfection. Even though she was much older than Lydia is said to be when she played this part, she captures that sense of youthful zest for life that is found in an unbridled teenager. She displays a headstrong, independent girl that can easily be thought of as running off with George Wickham and being determined to stay with him.


Peeya Rai Chowdhary
Julia Sawalha