Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Emma (2009) Review

For the Jane Austen Film Challenge, my sister Anne and I opted to watch the BBC's 2009 adaptation of Emma. Anne had never seen it before, but it was my second viewing... and I have to say, it was better the second time around.  In fact, it was so good that... "I find I do not know what to [say]."

An odd statement, because I didn't think it was possible for me to like it any more than I did the first time. (Also odd that I do not know what to say, because as you know I am rarely at a loss for words.)  This movie is so good. It's rather a shame, because this review is going to be a little gushy, I'm afraid. When I really like something, I tend to rhapsodize quite a bit.

Ahem. Perhaps I should begin by summarizing the story.  I don't want to spoil it for any of you who have not seen the movie or read the book, so I shall not use any names.  "No, I am not teasing you.  I am quite serious."

 Character A is happy, wealthy, beautiful, and an incurable matchmaker. She takes Character B under her wing and tries to make a fine lady out of her, but in the process foolishly advises Character B to turn down an offer of marriage from Character C, who isn't rich enough to suit Character A. Character D, an old friend of Character A's family, frequently has to reprove Character A for her thoughtlessness. (I'm tired of typing the word Character and so will abbreviate it to a plain C--so Character A will become C-A.) C-A tries to make friends with C-E, the niece of the talkative C-F, but C-E is standoffish and shy.

"Lucky guess."
"Luck had nothing do with this.  Just talent.  And intution."

C-G, a church rector, comes calling on C-A and C-A immediately sets him up with C-B. C-B falls in love with C-G, but all is apparently lost when C-G declares his feelings for C-A, not C-B. Poor C-B. Anyway, the dashing young C-H comes to town and quickly captures the attentions of C-A, despite C-D's warnings that C-H is far too full of himself. C-A fancies herself in love with C-H, but soon drops the idea when she is led to believe that C-B is in love with him--though, in fact, C-B actually has a bit of a crush on C-D. Meanwhile, C-G forgets C-A and marries C-I, a snobby young lady from London who is rude to everyone. At a picnic, C-A is thoughtless and rude to C-F (C-E's aunt) and is severely scolded by C-D, who says that her meddlesome ways will catch up with her one day.

C-A, though not realizing it, is slowly falling in love with C-D. She is still not sure, however, about C-H, and is most surprised when she learns that C-H and C-E were engaged all this time and didn't tell anyone--a shock indeed, since C-H was always rather rude to C-E in public. Then C-A finds out that C-B wasn't interested in C-H at all, but rather C-D, and she realizes that she herself is in love with C-D. C-D, who had gone to visit his brother in hopes of forgetting C-A (he knew all along that he was in love with her) returns and proposes to C-A (best. scene. ever.). She joyfully accepts, and C-B ends up marrying C-C, who she shouldn't have turned down in the first place. And everyone lives happily ever after, including C-A's father, C-J, who likes to sit by the fire wrapped in scarves and eat gruel.

Now, was all that clear?  Good.  Take out a clean sheet of paper and number it from one to ten down the left-hand side, because we are going to have a quiz now.


What I really, really loved about this movie was that it made me so happy.  The visual brilliance, the lovely music, the enchanting characters, the funny dialogue, the hilarious mishaps and misunderstandings, the sweet ending--and did I mention the lovely costumes? those too--all came together to make a movie that left me with a ridiculously happy grin on my face when it was over.

So yet again, I guess I'll go through my favorite aspects point-by-point.  You know better than to expect a dignified and stately stroll through the story.  I just jump higgledy-piggledy from character to character and costume to costume, and I enjoy myself immensely.

I'm going to ask Mr. Knightley to teach me Chinese!
Romola Garai is the best Emma Woodhouse I have ever seen.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that I have not seen any other version of Emma, but we needn't quibble about details.  Her facial expressions are priceless and her manner of speaking was just perfect for Emma.  I do not think she could be improved upon.

See what I mean about the facial expressions?  I so enjoyed watching her quarrel with Mr. Knightley about Harriet and Robert Martin--the Knightley Fightley, as I like to call it.

"I really think it is time for tea, and yet it has not arrived.  Do you think I should call Father in?"
Emma's almost-boisterous personality at the beginning and her more mature and calm manners near the end were both beautifully played, and the change was so gradual that it was quite believable.

Miss Taylor's hat... sigh.  I mean, Mrs. Weston's hat.

I really liked Miss Taylor---er, Mrs. Weston.  Sorry.  She was so sweet and yet not above giving Mr. Elton the Gladys Gilford Glacial Glare when he refused to dance with Harriet. :) I think maybe some of Emma's penchant for matchmaking came from Miss Taylor's example... she was definitely scheming (albeit quietly) to get Emma and Frank together!

And her romance with Mr. Weston was such a sweet little subplot.  I loved watching the two of them together.

Really, I loved how all the people interact with each other in this beautiful film.  People are fascinating, IMHO, and there isn't a single boring character in Emma.  Everyone is so complex and yet perfectly normal.  Sort of.

Okay, so nobody's going to call Mr. Elton perfectly normal.  Eeeeh, he was so much fun.  I haven't seen Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram and don't really want to, so I didn't have any problem seeing him as Mr. Elton.  He was hilarious: just the right mix of creepy, wacky and self-satisfied.  How wonderful that he got saddled with a wife who was just like him, only worse.

"Quite so.  And in Bath we would certainly
have announced dinner by now."
Yep, the snotty Mr. Elton deserved everything he got.  "That young man is so conceited, I am surprised he can stay on that horse."  Utter wit, only it didn't come from Mr. Elton.  It came from someone much, much more deserving of praise...

Mr. Knightley and the napkin had me in stitches. :)
I will NOT spend this entire post going on and on about Mr. Knightley.  I could.  But I won't.  I shall spare you the details of how I think he is the ultimate Jane Austen hero and save all that for my series on Period Drama Heroes (which I'll hopefully begin if I ever finish the Heroines series... whatever happened to that??).

Um.  Anyway.  Long sentence there.
"Brother and sister? No, indeed!"

I do want to see the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma, but I can't imagine Jeremy Northam holding a candle to Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal of Mr. Knightley.  Where Mr. Elton is pompous, fully aware of his handsome-ness, overbearing and selfish, Mr. Knightley is... well, knightly.  He epitomizes the perfect gentleman, and his rapport with Emma is beautiful to behold.

"Oh! it's beautiful!"
Speaking of which, the entire Crown Inn ball scene had me smiling and laughing and even getting a little misty-eyed the whole time.  I felt the way Emma looked when she came in and saw how beautifully it was decorated.  Mr. Knightley's gallantry in asking Harriet to dance... Mr. Elton's hilarious-yet-awful "I am an old married man" spiel... Frank Churchill's ridiculous bouncing about in "The Ship's Cook"... and Emma and Mr. Knightley's dance. The Last Dance.  


Did I mention I loved this movie?  I think I did.  

So, moving on to some of the other characters.  Frank Churchill, for instance.  Now, I know I'm going to incite some righteous indignation in all of you, but, well, there are times when I can't help liking Frank.  No, no, stop! I didn't mean it!  Put down the tomatoes!

No, but seriously, didn't you feel just a little sorry for him when he was remembering his childhood?  And won't you admit that he's at least a little bit charming?  And, after all, he did use Jane very ill (wow, I sound like Mrs. Bennet) but he did love her.  Of that I have no doubt.  Remember the whole brouhaha at Donwell when Frank came late to the strawberry party and had the big fight with Jane?  The whole reason behind the fight with Jane was that he didn't want her to go be a governess when he could easily provide for her! But... then, of course, Frank didn't have the chutzpah to just tell his aunt he was getting married.  As Melody said to me last week, "Frank Churchill is just one big BUT STILL."  I agree. :)

Emma's relationship with her father was also quite sweet.  Mr. Woodhouse might be a fuddy-duddy hypochondriac, but he genuinely loves Emma and it shows.  I love how this movie portrays the funny characters as humans, not just comic relief.  (Except for Mr. E., the caro sposo, of course.)

Miss Bates, for example.  I am anxious to see Sophie Thompson's funny portrayal of the character ("lovely, lovely lovely!") but I really liked how Tamsin Greig made me feel sorry for Miss Bates.  Though perhaps that wasn't exactly the way Austen wrote the character, still I enjoyed seeing a more sympathetic portrayal of the talkative spinster.

Of course there are a whole slew of other characters (Jane Fairfax, John and Isabella Knightley, all the little Knightleys, Mrs. Bates, Mr. Weston, &. &c.) but I don't have time to talk about them all, much as I would wish to.

No, instead I have to speed my way onward to... the last episode.  The wonderful, glorious, perfectly splenderiferous, rewind-it-three-times end.

The realization...
Emma's shock upon realizing that she loves Mr. Knightley is beautifully sweet.  The proposal (infamous Chapter 49!) is even better, and my happiness is capped by the fact that they left the "If I felt less I might be able to talk about it more" quote intact.  Emma's consternation over having to leave her father is touching, and Mr. Knightley's sacrifice of his beloved home in order to make Mr. Woodhouse happy leaves me sniffling a little.


My reaction to Mr. Knightley's surprise at the very end was much like Isabella's upon receiving Mr. Knightley's letter: "Oh... oh... OH!" *half-hysterical laughing/crying*

The seaside.  The end.

(All pictures except the first one are from this screencap page:


Melody said...


You may imagine my feelings, my dear Miss Dashwood, because we think so alike on almost everything! It was so much fun reading this review!

Oh, one thing though; I personally think Kate Beckinsale, was a much better Emma than Gwenenth Paltrow. I know that has very little to do with your post, but, "just sayin'".

Of course they none of them compare to Romola Garai!

I have to make this quick because Papa's waiting for me to go for a drive...

There's my name jumping out at me again in one of your posts! ;-) By the bye, did you know that it was YOU who said "but still" about Frank Churchill first? So then I was agreeing with you when I said he was just one big BUT STILL. Tehehe....

Um...chapter 49 is not INfamous. It's glorious, simply divine!

Ahh...I have to go....

By the bye, I know exactly what you mean, about liking it better the second time; actually, the first time I saw this movie I wasn't half as crazy about it as I am now. The more I watched it the more I LOVED it. And I kept thinking I couldn't like it any more, and then I did....=D

Dad's calling for me..gotta go...more later? =D

Lauren said...

I absolutely love this version of Emma! I really think it is the best of any of them. It is rare that a movie adaption strikes me as perfect, but this one sure does:)The characters, the costumes, the scenery, the screenplay, just everything about it is wonderful. Excuse all this gushing, but it really is the best:)

Hayden said...

I love Emma in general and all characters/things/movies/random objects in relation to it so much that of course I had to comment! :)

My favorite version is actually the one with Gwenyth Paltrow, partly because it was the first version I've seen. I find R's Emma more likable than G's, but I personally think the 1996 portrayal of her character is a little closer to the book's. (Because, I must admit that Emma is rather a snob in some places, which ever way you try to get around it...but I still like her anyway. Go figure ;) I also think that the 1996 version is the only one that gets the Mr. Knightley/Emma confrontation about Miss Bates right. Not that it was really a confrontation, per say...but as much as it makes me wince, it was really perfectly done. I also love Jeremy Northam's Mr. Knightley. Once again, it may be because I saw that version first :)

That said, I really did like this version (though I've only seen it once- however, I asked for it for Christmas, so hopefully it won't be the last time! :) Though sometimes Romola Garai's expressions and movements seemed a little too modern, I loved her and Mr. Knightley's relationship; it seemed more playful than the other versions. I absolutely adore the beginning of this movie- where Miss Bates is talking while Emma grows up- priceless! :)

Alexandra said...

Oooooh, I love this one!!! We've got a lot of good memories of this one. The first time I watched it when it first came out, I honestly didn't care for it. Then like, a year or so later (this past February) when we lost my brother, we just spent hours sitting on my mom's bed watching movies together, and we got this one since we wanted a new miniseries to enjoy. And we LOVED it. It's definitely the best yet.

I would highly recommend the Mirimax version, though...while it's much different in a lot of respects, it's delicious in its own way. It is more of a 'romantic comedy' than the's much 'lighter', I guess you could say, than the other. But honestly...Jeremy Northam is an incredible Mr. Knightley. He's what made Mr. Knightly my favorite Austen hero (note I said *Austen* hero, not favorite hero period. :-P) So you must at least see it. :-) But I did enjoy Jonny Lee Miller once I got 'used' to him. :-)

Romola Garai has quickly become one of my new favorite actresses. She was sooo good as Emma. And while the Miss Bates here was quite different from Sophie Thompson's (and yes, you MUST see it, if for nothing else to see her Miss Bates), I did like the way the character was played. And Frank and Jane and Mr. Elton and Mr. Woodhouse...and....yup. Love all around. :-)

So glad you like it! :-)

(and the full of himself quote is a favorite in our house! :-))

Melody said...

I'm back! What did I tell you? :D

Okay, so your C-D's and C-A's lost me. What's wrong with their names? I like their names. =D Because you know, anybody who doesn't know the story (a very spare few around here) would probably either not read that or they would figure everything out when the finally watched the movies anyways.

But you should do a post all about Character D. Did you ever see mine, by the way?

Okay. Gladys Gilford Glacial Glare? I KNOW I recognize that and I CANnot place it and it is DRIving me NUts. Tell me? Please? Enlightenment awaits?? =D

Beautiful post!

Oh, and I don't mean to criticize you my dear, but you did not spend near long enough on your delightfully long post about Ginny's Market/The Last Dance/Emma and Mr. Knightley dance. You could at least put a picture from it. =D
(That's like my favorite scene in any movie period!)

I just had to tease you. Please forgive me.

Anne-girl said...

I cannot think of anything appropriately wonderful to say to this wonderful post so... Haven't we been having a lot of rain lately.

Miss Dashwood said...

I, too, am rather persnickety about movies and hesitate to call anything "perfect" but this one comes really, really close to perfect. All gushing excused, of course! I like to gush when it's richly deserved--and this movie deserves a little gushing!

Random objects! Ha, you made me laugh out loud.
Now I really wanna see the Miramax version. I agree, the Miss Bates confrontation (we call it the Badly Done scene--not that it was badly done, but... yeah) was not quite as good as it should have been. I think if the Mr. Knightley of the book had seen how upset Emma was at his rebuke, he wouldn't have been so harsh. Actually, in the book he isn't even that harsh and he ends the whole thing with a "This isn't easy for me to say, I only want to help you" or something along those lines. :)
Ooh, yes, I too love the introduction, and Emma's dolls under the table are priceless! :D

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "If a [movie] is not worth re-[watching], it is not worth [watching] at all."
I've heard that the Miramax one is more of a romcom, with more emphasis on the humorous part. That's right up my alley, so I'm eager to see it, though I'm a little revolted at the idea of Norman Warne as Frank Churchill (with a dead cat on his head, no less!)
Austen hero, not favorite hero period, huh? Now who would the ultimate favorite hero be, I wonder? You have quite perplexed me. :)

La! What a great deal I have to say to you! I think I will reply to both your comments at the same time, as it saves space. :0
Nuffing was wrong with their names. I just like to confuse people. :P
Ooh, I shall enjoy finding your post on Character D in the archives and reading it. :)
The Gladys Gilford Glacial Glare can be found in Meet Molly by Valerie Tripp (I've never asked, but I assume you read the American Girl books as a child?)
Oh, do not worry your pretty little head, my dear, because I am saving all that I have to say about The Dance for its very own post. Coming soon to a theater (er, dashboard) near you.
I always forgive you when you tease me, Nonsensical Girl!

Ella said...

I love Emma!
It may be my favorite JA movie:)

Melody said...

YES! I remember that now from the Molly books. It sounded SO familiar. It was Mr. McIntire that said that wasn't it? ;-) Ha, I kind of assumed that with you, too!

Miss D & Hayden,
My favorite 'badly done' scene is from the Miramax version. I thought Mr. Knightley was the right sort of gentle-scolding like he was in the book. (It was quite touching!)

!!!!! I am incredibly excited about your Dance post!

Don't you feel so sorry for Character D at the end of episode 3 (and in the book), when he confronts Character A about 'Dixon'?? *Sniff*

In case you haven't found it yet, I'm leaving a comment here for you (it's actually two posts...haha, I couldn't stop):

Melody said...

Oh, and Hayden, I wasn't quite sure about this version at first I confess. You should definitely watch it at least 2 times, maybe 3, and then see how you like it. =)

Jemimah C. said...

Eloquently said, Miss Dashwood! Your post has me in a laughing fit. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Emma (2009), and I don't need to see another Emma adaptation at all. I'm perfectly satisfied with it. But if I say every single thing I love about it, this comment will go far longer than intended. But for a few notes...

Wonderful idea to tell the plot without spoiling most of it!

Romola Garai is the darlingest (if there's such a word) Emma ever! Her facial expressions are priceless indeed.

Mr. Elton was a downright creepy stalker. But yes, he is a hilarious character.

Mr. Knightley = ♥ 'Nough said.

I enjoyed Michael Gambon's portrayal of Mr. Woodhouse. He made a pretty comical, concerned, but sweet father to Emma.

The music was enchanting and oh-so-memorable. I can listen to the musical score on my playlist and never get tired of it.

I'd better end nor ere this comment really grows longer.

Alexandra said...

Miss Dashwood -

Haha! Was I the one who mentioned the dead cat or someone else? :-D I read it on a review on a blog and thought, oh, my. That's a perfect description. It is rather revolting. :-D

Ah, me, sorry to perplex you. I know that it will be difficult to try and guess my favorite hero, know. :-D

And I agree with Melody...the Mirimax version of "Badly Done" was definitely *THE BEST*. I just get chills every time I see it. I did think that the 2009's fell a bit short. And I admit to liking Mr. Knightley's dancing with Harriet just a *wee* bit better in the Miramax, too. But overall I adore the 2009 one...

And yes, yes, yes to Melody's reply to Hayden. The 2009 really improves with viewings. Like I said, I didn't care for it at all the first time I saw it...and now I absolutely love it. :-)

Miss Dashwood said...

Now that you and Melody have the same profile picture, I have to keep straight who's who! :)
P&P1995 holds the place of honor as My Favorite JA movie, but this one is a close second.

I plan to compare and contrast The Dance at Netherfield and The Dance at Crown Inn, so stay tuned. :)
I am in the process of reading Part Two of your Mr. Knightley posts and I'm really, really enjoying them! Of course I'm gleaning ideas for my Period Drama Heroes series... :)

I laughed out loud at your little heart with Mr. Knightley: "nough said!" Indeed!
I love the music too... I have it on my playlist and I could just listen to "Donwell Dancing Again" and "Love Story" all... day... long...

Julia Rogers said...

I hate to disagree with you for once but i have ALWAYS really liked Frank Churchill!!!!! SO there!! (and secondly I saw Rupert Evans in North and South and loved him) SO if you dont like him i'm sorry ...but oh well my sisters dont either..

Melody said...

The 1996 'badly done' scene was really good, but, as always, the book was even better. It makes me feel like crying, especially the part (which NONE of the movies include the right way...the A&E was the closest) where Emma goes into the carriage but she has her back turned, and Mr Knightley starts walking away and she starts driving away before she has a chance to say anything to him...that moment when you realize it's too late, and then she cries all the way home...*sniff*

I did really, really like the Mr-Knighley-asking-Harriet-to-dance scene in the 2009 one though.

Miss Dashwood,
Haha! Yeah I was hesitant to put that as my profile picture just now, but I could resist because you kept calling me Nonsensical Girl! ;-)

I'm looking forward to the post! But I do think it would be difficult to compare Mr. Beveridge's Maggot and Ginny's Market (those are the dance names), because of the people. One's really romantic, the other...well, not exactly. Very interesting though.
Lizzy is rather angry with Mr. Darcy in that scene, and Mr. Darcy isn't quite sure about her...
Emma is anything but angry with Mr. Knightley at that moment, quite in charity with him...and Mr. Knightley, well.... <3 <3 <3

Alexandra & Miss Dashwood,
When I saw the actor's name of Frank from the Miramax version, I recognized it from Miss Potter but I just couldn't put the two people together in my long red hair vs. short brown with mustache totally threw me off. :P

Miss Dashwood said...

Sorry this reply is late--blame the mean spam thing!
Oh dear, I'm not sure where I heard the dead cat quote, so I can't give credit where credit is due (unfortunately). Now you are all making me LONG to see the Miramax version... after I re-watch Wives and Daughters and TSP and Little Dorrit and see Return to Cranford and Persuasion and Martin Chuzzlewit and North and South... :)

Feel free to disagree! There are some parts where I just can't help liking Frank Churchill. He's charming without being slimy like Mr. Wickham (or with ulterior motives like Willoughby). I honestly couldn't call him a villain!

Awww! That sounds so perfect!
I know, I want to use the two very different scenes more of a contrasting thing than comparing. :) I do love the music from both... could listen to it all day...
Personally, I think Ewan Macgregor looks much better (and is a lot more likable!) as Mr. Warne than as Frank. :)

Melody said...

Martin Chuzzlewit?! That's what I'm watching right now...:P

Wait...what's perfect? o.O

Hayden said...

I have so much more I want to say about Emma that I'm just going to give up and write a huge 3 movie comparison post. That is, after Christmas dies down and I actually have time. :)

I love Emma so much. I understand I'm being redundant but this really cannot be understated. It's pretty much tied with P&P as my favorite Jane Austen book. :)

Miss Dashwood said...

The "badly done" scene is what sounds perfect. Sorry, I tend to confuse people... :P
Ooh, you'll have to tell me about Martin Chuzzlewit when you finish! Is it good so far?

I'll be looking forward to that post! I actually didn't really like Emma when I first read it, but then I watched the movie and fell in love, watched the movie again and fell even more in love, and now I think I need to read the book again. :)

Melody said...

I know exactly what you mean! =) And yeah, those 3 movies are fun to compare! =D

Miss Dashwood,
You definitely need to read the book again. I've read it twice and I hardly ever read more than you! ;-) Well, school was my excuse...
'Cause the book is really good. =D

Melody said...

Anyways, I have not yet seen enough of MC to form much of on opinion; so far it seems not too well-made; sort of in-between the old BBC things (like Mansfield Park 1983) and P&P.

The girl who plays Merry is the same as Lydia Bennet; and it's humourous because she acts almost exactly the same! Her laugh and everything! Haha! ;-) No wonder they picked her for that part the next year!

Rissi said...

Love this adaptation of Emma. I think everyone generally thinks the Miramax version is best but... this one is really sweet. (Even with Jeremy Northam being the best Knightley ;D).

Elizabeth said...

Oh! What a nice review Miss Dashwood! I wonder...have you or will you post a review on Little Dorrit? I'm trying to gather as much information as i can before watching it. :) Thanks for this post too! My thoughts exactly! :)

Miss Dashwood said...

My sister and I are currently watching Little Dorrit (episodes 5 and 6 tonight!) so I will hopefully post a long and tiresomely detailed review of it the first week in January. :)

Julia Rogers said...

Miss Dashwood,
YES!! Martin Chuzzlewit IS good!! I have watched it twice and still really like it!!! Its not my favorite movie ever, just because Anne and JA take that but its really good! AND BIG plus, there is no indecency!! Its a really old version, dont know if there IS a new version but its nice.Anyway... ttyl

Miss Dashwood said...

My parents have seen Martin Chuzzlewit, but I haven't and I'd really like to. I read the book in 8th grade, but it's been a while and I might need to refresh myself with the story before I see the movie. :)

Kate said...

The 2009 adaptation of Emma is my favourite! I think Jonny Lee Miller & Romola Garai are perfect as Emma & Mr. Knighley! Jonny is very handsome & Romola is very pretty. Some of my favourite scenes are;
The Dance
The Proposal
The conversation on the bench
When Emma says she cannot marry Mr. Knightley and he comforts her in a tender & loving way. Awww!

I also love the costumes in this adaptation. Everything about Emma is lovely & I enjoyed this version so much I read the novel too which is great too. also love the part where Mr. Knightly holds Emma's hand when they go talk to her father it is nice because Emma is very worried and Mr. Knightly is comforting her again. Why can't all men be like an Jane Austen hero? Sigh....

The strange thing is if I hadn't watched this version of Emma, I would have never have read the novel as I disliked Emma as a character & I also dislike the Paltrow/Beckinsale versions I have never warmed to Emma until I saw this adaptation. I thought Romola made Emma like able and gave her a personality. Micheal Gambon played Mr Woodhouse brilliantly and made him very funny to watch. This is my all time favourite adaptation of Emma!

Kate x

Charity U said...

This is my last comment, promise. :) I found your review of Emma -- I love this version! We watched the Kate Beckinsale (brown haired) one the other day...I compared it to this the whole through -- and this came out on top. :) Especially love Mr. Knightley and Emma's dance!

Holly said...

Nice review...I enjoyed watching this version of Emma, but I gotta say, it was definitely NOT my favourite Emma at all, and nowhere near one of my favourite period dramas! I especially didn't like Emma and Mr. Knightley, I much prefer Emma Miramax version...but I know most people don't agree with me :)
Oh well, we're all titled to our own opinions, I agree with just about everything else you mention on this blog, THIS is my only exception!