Miss Bingley to Darcy: You Belong With Me

Anna Chancellor played “Duckface” (aka Henrietta) in Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994 and Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice the following year. You almost wouldn’t believe it was the same actress, she looks so different. Austen adaptations tend to be a who’s-who of English actors with familiar faces popping up across adaptations (eg. Sophie Thompson* in Persuasion 1995 and Emma 1996, who was also in Four Weddings) but what I found interesting was the similarity of two shots in these movies.

Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas, with similar vibes to Miss Bingley) comes up behind Charles (Hugh Grant) as he watches Carrie (Andi MacDowell), the character he loves, her head over one shoulder, hand on the other (Miss Bingley would never!). Anna Chancellor as Miss Bingley, appears on Darcy’s opposite shoulder while he’s watching Lizzy Bennet. Both engage the men in conversations about the women they’re watching.

The difference being that Fiona is in love with Charles and tells him so directly as this scene continues. Austen doesn’t indicate Miss Bingley is in love with Darcy; it’s likely she wants to marry him for his money and status. Miss Bingley never makes any kind of declaration to Darcy; it would be unseemly to do so. She does think she is a much more appropriate match for him than Lizzy. There is a shared pain of the person they want to be with, watching and wanting to be with someone else. Ordinarily it might be a stretch to say a modern woman wants to marry a man they love, but marriage is front and centre in Four Weddings, so it’s likely.

Bonus: Anna Chancellor is also distantly related to Austen. It’s a very small world

*Sister of Emma Thompson who adapted Sense and Sensibility and starred as Elinor in the 1995 film

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