Rosamund Pike vs Susannah Harker

As you all know, I am a Pride and Prejudice 1995 fan (you're probably saying, 'Yeah... please don't mention that in EVERY post') and also a very not-P&P05 fan. If I would start comparing the two movies, I'd probably start to sound a little fierce... you know. It would also sound too black and white.
So... I have decided to compare the two Jane Bennets. Because, people, I thought 2005 Jane was really good. Perhaps almost as good as 1995 Jane. Perhaps even as good. But perhaps not... anyways, I shall compare the two.
My favourite 2005P&P character
I don't want to focus too much on looks, but we must admit that Rosamund Pike is prettier than Susannah Harker. For Jane is supposed to be five times prettier than the rest of the lot. Not that that is so in the 2005 version, but Rosamund is prettier than Susannah. She looks 'sweet' and I think that Jane should look sweet. 
Stop it, Lizzy (that's what she says in this scene)
But in the Regency time, the beauty was not merely focused in the face- it was in the hairstyle, the posture, the complexion and so on. It was extremely popular to have a Grecian, Roman- style look. Susannah Harker's portrayal captures the Grecian look perfectly. She has a Grecian hairstyle- with little curls framing her Grecian-shaped face and fancy braids in her blonde hair and so on. She had the sort of beauty people would have then admired. More about this on Miss Elizabeth's blog, here.
Jane is not supposed to look like a tomboy
 I must say I was disappointed with the Rosamund Pike Jane hair. It is almost always in disorder and out of place! She looks like a tomboy!
And Jane, my dear readers, is not supposed to look like a tomboy.
I know many people say that the Susannah Harker had a ridiculous hairstyle. I know it looks as if she had just come out of the hairdressers. But here too I must defend Susannah.
The Bennets weren't that poor (Was it not Jane who said, 'We are not very poor, Lizzy'?). They wouldn't have had pigs in their house... OK, yes that's another story. Well, it has been worked out that the Bennets would have been able to afford eleven servants. Eleven.
And Jane... Jane is a neat girl. She is neat and clean and always tries looks perfect.
So, now we come to the point... Jane would have been able to have a maid to curl her hair every morning. Because you see they had eleven servants and Jane wants her hair to look nice.
So I think Susannah Harker is better in looks.
I think she looks really lovely in this picture
But what about character?
Well... apart from Susannah being better in table manners and sitting up straight (Rosamund's Jane once had her ELBOWS ON THE TABLE!! *gasps at such vulgarity*)
But... well (it's so hard for me to say this) I think Susannah's Jane looks a but weird in some scenes. Take this scene for instance:
Don't you think she's weird in that scene. That's probably the only scene in the entire show that I think isn't done very well. I think it's so funny how she goes back and forth- from the door to Lizzy. Then back to the door and then back to Lizzy.
As for Rosamund, she did Jane more sweetly. She did it more youthfully and earnest.

So I think they both have good sides. I can't decide which one I prefer.
What about you?
Who's your favourite Jane?



  1. Good post, Naomi! I really like how you brought all that out about the Grecian look, etc. I think people don't often think about it, but it's really true. Once you start digging into it, it's interesting how classically influenced the Regency period was...hairstyles and dress, too. :-)

    And btw, thanks so much for the follow! ;-)

  2. Heidi, you're welcome!
    Oh and by the way, I've added you to the list of nominees for the beautiful blog award.

  3. I like Rosamund Pike better.


    Although I must agree, her hair is a bit out of control. Whoever the hair stylist was for the 2005 P&P had a few issues with the regency era. :-)

    Lovely post, m'dear!

  4. Thank you for the nomination. ;-) Fun questions!!

  5. I love Susannah Harker as Jane! I liked Rosamund Pike, but Susannah will always and forever be Jane to me. :)
    I'm so glad you mentioned the whole Grecian thing! I was about to comment and mention it, haha. Once I learned that the regency era favored that "style" it made so much more sense why Jane was considered prettier than Lizzy. :)

  6. I haven't seen the 2005 version in a while, but I am guessing that a lot of people who prefer that movie either don't understand about period style and just like a bit of "history" for uniqueness (like Christian fiction "historical" novels) which drives me nuts because I am a history major or they just aren't particular about it if they like it. Susannah's Jane is much more accurate as far as looking like regency portraits. Another historical detail overlooked far more than style is mannerisms/education/understanding. All the girls in the 2005 were modern acting GIRLS not historical YOUNG WOMEN. In the book Lydia and Kitty's giddiness is looked down upon(because once you "come out into society" girls were supposed to be grown up), but all the girls are a bit ditzy/wild/fluttery. Jane is 22; and the book (Mr. Darcy's misconceptions about her heart come from this) states that she was serene. She was dignified. Modern movies have lost all concept of refinement and dignity and poise and proper bearing. I think that also contributed to the problems in P&P 05. Sorry this is soo long, but I love to discuss this sort of thing.

  7. Livia Rachelle, don't worry about the long-ness of comments! I love disgussing those sort of things as well!!
    I agree! Both Lizzy and even Jane are flirty and wild and fluttery in the 2005 version and they sometimes even wear their hair down, which is supposed to be shocking. It just drives me nuts as well!!
    The 1995 P&P is just far more historically accurate. The girls behave better (well, not Lydia, but you know) and they sit with grace and in a ladylike poise. They dress in the right way and have neat hairstyles. That's what I like.
    Thank you for your long comment! I loved it!

  8. I kinda like Rosamund Pike better... and then I say, no, I like Susannah Harker better...
    So, hmmm. I do like that R.P. looks fresh and pretty, because S.H. sometimes looks like she has waaayy to much make-up on.
    I always used to make fun of that scene, because it looks like she's going to say something like, "Oh Lizzy! I'm going to have a baby!" What makes this even funnier is that Susannah Harker was actually pregnant during the filming of this movie, but with careful draping and styling, they were able to disguise it.

  9. It's a wonderful blog! I'm fortunate I can find this one. :D P&P in 1995 is best, although I still love the 2005's version too. ^_^ All styles in 1995 are so similar to the 19th era, Austen's era. And the others I like from 1995 series are their dresses are so good and their house is neat and clean. If the new version still keep up with more elegancy, I'd love it better!

  10. Susannah all the way, but I admit it's been forever since I've seen the 2005 version. The first time I saw the old version I definitely thought that Lizzy was way prettier than Jane, but her kind of beauty is the kind that grows on you so now I find her very beautiful. Plus, her soft manner of speaking and the way that she can act absolutely regal and still have a sparkle in her eye is what makes her the better Jane. :)

  11. Personally, Naomi, I have to say I like Rosamund Pike's Jane much, much better than Susannah Harker's. I just couldn't "get into" Susannah Harker's performance, if you know what I mean. She looked too old and she acted, IMHO, far too sedate and mature. Yes, I know she was supposed to be dignified and reserved but she wasn't supposed to act like a wise old matron. Not that I have anything AGAINST wise old matrons, but that just isn't who Jane Bennet is supposed to be. Rosamund Pike, I think, managed to make Jane dignified and gentle and calm, but young and happy and fun-loving at the same time. So, I liked that a lot better.

    At the same time, I will freely admit I thought her hair was too messy. But I also thought that Susannah's hair was way too neat. Honestly, Naomi, even with a maid to curl her hair every morning I just can't believe she always looked like that. Can't there be a happy medium somewhere?

    Just a question: That line--"We are not very poor, Lizzy"--does that come from the book or the movie? I can't remember coming across it anywhere in the book, but maybe I missed something.

    Also, about the Bennets and their financial situation--I know the Bennets definitely weren't "poor" in a strict sense, but if they could afford eleven servants, then WHY can they not afford to have their own pair of carriage horses? Because they don't--they use their farm horses to pull the carriage. (That's why Jane had to ride over to the Bingleys' that day instead of drive--the horses were needed on the farm.) That, to me, says that they really aren't very well off. And remember Mr. Collins? When he comes over for dinner, he actually asks if any of the Bennet girls did the cooking. I know he's vacant and clueless and all that, but I honestly don't think he would have asked such a question if it didn't seem like maybe the Bennets really COULDN'T afford a full-time cook.

  12. Jessica, I understand why you love Pike's Jane, I really do. I DID think she was lovely, just as good as Susannah's Jane - especially because of the 'fun' side of her. BUT I don't think Susannah's Jane was *that* wise old matron-ish. She is, if you look at her in a different way, rather pink, sweet and fresh. :-) But I like both Jane's the same, I can see both.

    Hmm, I think that Jane, being so elegant and patient and with nothing else to do (hah), might well have had her morning hair done with the maid. Just thinking. :-)

    Mmm, I'm not sure about that line myself. Sorry.

    That's very interesting about their 'wealth.'I guess servants weren't too expensive. But yeah, they were poor. But still, I think the 05 P&P makes their poor-ness look a bit over-the-top. SURE, they had a farm, but not a pig walking indoors, or a muddy yard which would NEVER be welcoming to any rich lord or lady. Don't you think?
    I have always been a bit muddled about the Bennet and their farm. I mean, who tends it? Do they have hired men? Or does Mr Bennet do it? I used to think it meant that Mr Bennet had farm-land that he hired out to farm folks, but maybe not. (?)

    Thanks for your very interesting comments! I love it when people comment on my old posts. :-)

    ~ Naomi

  13. I understand--after all, everybody's different! I think a big reason why I didn't like Susannah Harker too much is that I, myself, am almost as old as Jane (hint: I'm the same age as Emma Woodhouse) and yet, I still feel very young and girlish sometimes (okay, a lot of the time). So I find it a lot easier to relate to the Jane and Lizzy of the '05 version, who, even though they were ready to make serious decisions for themselves, still liked to whisper and giggle under the covers and all that.

    Hum . . . let me think. About the farm, I'm assuming that Mr. Bennet does not tend it himself. I don't think any gentleman of the time would have done that--I actually don't even think Robert Martin (in Emma) does his own field work. What I'm guessing is that Mr. Bennet rents it out to tenants and they do the work, along with some hired hands.

    However, I'm pretty sure the Bennets' house must be either on or very near the farm itself--otherwise, how would it work with the shared-horses business? Would they go back and forth between the farm and the estate? I don't think they would. So, to be honest, the fact that the '05 movie showed the Bennets living literally on a farm didn't actually bother me.

    And if they are, indeed, living on their own farm, then I actually think at least SOME of the messiness/muddiness shown was appropriate. I'm willing to bet English country life in the 1790s (which was when they set the movie) was pretty dirty. Also, I was okay with it because I'm pretty sure neither Mr. nor Mrs. Bennet were very good managers/housekeepers. I don't think they would have taken very good care of their house and estate, to be honest. Especially not Mrs. Bennet. I know she had servants, yes, but even if you have servants you have to keep after to them to make sure they do the work properly. I don't think Mrs. Bennet would have done that, because I don't think she really cared.

    But you want to know what DOES bother me about the '05 movie's setting? I don't like the way the inside of the Bennets' house is designed. It has colored walls (I think somebody said it was painted wood paneling) and I don't think that was a thing back then. Also, there was this weird-looking open staircase, like a ladder. I don't think that would have been a thing, either. I wish they had made the inside layout/design of the house look a little more conventional. Although, again, I don't care that it was messy--I kind of liked it.

  14. I personally prefer Rosamund Pike; she seems more fresh, more sweet. I think she SHOULD be a little girlish still. Susannah Harker looks and acts older than 22. Yes, Rosamund Pike's hair is not at all neat -- but I would say that the entire 2005 movie is like that. I can enjoy the 2005 movie, but all of it's "historical-ness" is much more like regency INSPIRED modern style than actual Regency clothing and hair. For me it can be a fun movie to watch when I don't have six hours (I think it still captures the general ideas and feelings of P&P), but if you want an actual Pride and Prejudice, accurate to the time and the book, you definitely have to go to P&P'95. But once again, I love Rosamund Pike because I think she is just about a perfect Jane.

  15. I definitely prefer Rosamund Pike. Though Susannah Parker was back-then pretty, Rosamund Pike is TODAY pretty, and that is what matters to the audience. Susannah Parker's eyes were somehow too big, and she spoke with her lower front teeth! I'm afraid she even looked the slightest bit creepy (although her hair was great)! Rosamund Pike has normal-sized, yet still beautiful, eyes, along with a beautiful smile and rosy cheeks. Also, her version somehow had more character. She laughed and was ladylike at the same time, showing joy and knowledge, while the other was downright... bland.

    Don't get me wrong--I LOVE the 1995 Pride and Prejudice; the versions of Mr. Darcy, Mrs. Bennet, and Mr. Collins win over the other versions, by FAR, in the 2005 movie, but I like the Jane with more character and beauty better.


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