Monday, April 9, 2012

Emma (1996) Review

"Well, you'll just have to live here then. Bye-bye." ~Frank Churchill, Emma

I am one of the most indecisive people I know.   This is probably why Philippa Gordon and I get along so well.  Or at least we would if she were a real person, and had been born a hundred years later than she was (or if I had been born a hundred years earlier) and if she lived in the United States (or I lived in PEI) which she probably wouldn't because, hello, Yankees.  Hmmm, now I'm going off on a rabbit trail...

What I'm trying to say here is that I have a terrifically hard time making up my mind about Emma 1996, aka the Miramax Emma, aka the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma.  There were things I loved about it.  There were things I disliked.  I can't say I really hated anything, which was good, but overall it gave me a sense of... well, blah.

Oh, and disclaimer to all y'all who DO like this version best-- please don't hesitate to shout me down in the comments.  I look forward to hearing from you and there's nothing I like better than a good period drama debate (although please do respect my opinion and I'll respect yours).

It would make sense for me to begin with Emma herself.  Obviously.  So I shall say that Gwyneth Paltrow is not my idea of Emma.  Now, I've read that she does a good job of portraying Emma's snootiness and snobbery and all that, and I agree, but I don't think she does a very good job of portraying the sweet side of Emma.  I was finding her annoying, and I felt guilty about that, which spoiled my enjoyment of her character.  So yes, I was not particularly pleased with Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma.  She seemed way too sure of herself-- and though yes, Emma is supposed to have great self-confidence, I saw none of Emma's vulnerability or anxiety to please and impress people.  Also, she was too old.  I realize Romola Garai wasn't exactly twenty-one either, but GP (yes, I'm abbreviating) looked closer to thirty.

But she WAS incredibly lady-like, tactful, gracious and always had perfect posture (something Romola Garai sadly lacked, I'm afraid), which was nice to see.  I liked how she so skillfully steered conversations away from touchy subjects.  "Did I mention we are having a new drain installed?"

Now, as for Jeremy Northam's Mr. Knightley.... hooo boy.  Okay.  Let's approach this nicely and civilly and quietly and without a fuss.

I didn't like him.

*ducks rotten vegetables*

I know, I know.  Jeremy Northam's Mr. Knightley is supposed to be the best thing since sliced toast and he's supposed to rival Colin Firth's Darcy and all that.  But sorry, you guys, I just can't like him very much.  For one thing, I felt as though I didn't have a chance to get to know his character.  I'm an avid fan of movies that are at LEAST three or four hours long (haha, Melody's gotten an earful on that subject, haven't ya Tween?) and I don't think two measly hours in a cinema are sufficient for the development of someone as amazing as my Mr. Knightley.  (Yes, I said "my.")

Besides which, he didn't strike me as being the caring, older-brotherly sort--- I kept getting the impression that he was laughing in his sleeve at Mr. Woodhouse (well, can't really blame him there) and that he was more interested in making fun of Emma than in actually seeking to help her and improve her.  The Badly Done scene, however, was Well Done indeed (done well, Donwell... I need to stop making stupid puns--although in actual fact, that pun is from Letters from Pemberley and isn't my own making, but I'm getting off track now) .  I have to admit that.  Still and all, I prefer Jonny Lee Miller's Mr. Knightley (even though I still think he didn't quite measure up in every single respect... yes, I'm picky about the portrayals of my favorite literary hero.)  And do not mention Mark Strong's butchery portrayal to me at this time.  Or at any time.

And while we're on the subject, sire, do not mention the horrific rendition of my beloved Chapter Forty-Nine.  I was on the verge of TEARS, peoples.  That proposal is just so beautiful and they BLEW IT.  And like I said, I never got the sense that Mr. Knightley DID love Emma all that much.  "I rode through the rain! I'd - I'd ride through worse than that if I could just hear your voice telling me that I might, at least, have some chance to win you," doesn't sound quite so convincing when the guy who's saying it is making approximately his fourth appearance in the entire film.  (Enough rants, Amy, move on.)  "Marry me.  Marry me, my wonderful, darling friend."  No.  No, no, no.  Where is "If I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more"????? I'm seeking it here, I'm seeking it there, and I can't find it anywhere... Okay, sorry.  I did say I'd stop.  I will.  I WILL.

 Toni Colette's portrayal of Harriet Smith... well, she grew on me.  I didn't like her AT ALL at first, and though I'm still mad that the producers didn't pay any attention to Jane Austen's description of Harriet in the book (hello, the woman doesn't often describe people so minutely---sit up and take notice!) she was a genuinely likable character and I really felt for her by the end.  In fact, I felt bad for her throughout a lot of the movie.  Drop that Miss Woodhouse and find yourself a real friend, girl.  Believe me, all she wants to do is rearrange your life and she's not even very good at it!


Anyways, I found Harriet's klutziness rather endearing, and the scene in which she and Emma are puzzling over Mr. Elton's riddle was quite amusing indeed. Excessively diverting. I'll digress here for a moment to say that you mustn't get me wrong--this movie was indeed excessively diverting and I found myself laughing out loud (not just in my mind) in nearly every scene.  "Try not to kill my dogs."

Now, back to Mr. Elton's riddle.  Anne-girl and I first heard about this movie years and years and YEARS ago, long before we were acquainted with Jane Austen, from friends of ours who really loved it.  I remember them quoting the riddle scene (twisted and paraphrased, of course) one day at lunch--"Chips--corn--CORN CHIPS!"  Ahem.  Moving on...

Alan Cumming's Mr. Elton was not as slimy and hilarious as Blake Ritson's, but I did find him amusing.  "A party is a party!" Mrs. Elton, on the other hand... well, I must throw a party for her. Otherwise everyone will feel at once how much I dislike her.  But then again, you are supposed to dislike Mrs. Elton.  (Is it possible that Mr. Elton met her while doing charitable work in a mental infirmary?)  Christina Cole was still better (this Mrs. Elton seemed a wee bit too old) but overall I enjoyed Juliet Stevenson's portrayal.  Of course I do not pretend to be an expert on characters, but my friends say I am.

Now, as far as Ewan MacGregor's portrayal of Frank Churchill goes, well, I honestly couldn't take him seriously with that wig.  Sink me, I could hardly bring myself to look upon it.  Too bad this Frank never went to London to get his hair cut, because it struck me as being imperative business indeed.  Overall he wasn't too bad, but not great either.  Polly Walker's Jane Fairfax, though quite nice, wasn't as sweet and endearing as Laura Pyper's Jane.  However, she did seem more sophisticated and elegant--but was that true to the novel? I can't remember.  I need to read the book again.

But to be positive (sink me, if I'm not saying something nice.  For a change) Sophie Thompson was utterly delightful as Miss Bates--in fact, she was lovely, lovely, lovely.  "Angel, mother--PORK!"  Other things I liked-- Greta Scacchi was good as Mrs. Weston, but there was nothing "wow" in her portrayal.  Mr. Woodhouse was, unfortunately, forgettable.  Michael Gambon just owns that role.  Sorry.

I was most pleased by the fact that they included the famous "Brother and sister? No indeed!" quote, but the Mr.-Knightley-and-Emma dance scene didn't thrill me the way it did in the 2009 version.  And the dancing didn't seem quite as authentic-for-the-time-period, either.  

I think really the biggest fault with this film is that the creators tried too hard to make it appealing to modern audiences.  The costumes are in many places inaccurate (although I'm no expert on Regency fashions, even I could tell that Emma's shoes are way too 20th-century) and the dialogue is rarely taken straight from the book.  It's funny, yes, and enjoyable to watch, but it's not Jane Austen's Emma. It's Miramax's Emma.  I've ranted about this topic before in my review of Pride and Prejudice 2005.

The reason Jane Austen was such a brilliant writer--nay, a genius--was that she captured human nature. She wrote about people and how they related to one another. Times and fashions and language and societies change, but people do not. Any person, no matter what era they live in, can relate to Jane Austen's amazing characters. So when a filmmaker tries to "update" a classic story and change things around in order to please shallow moviegoers, that filmmaker has made a mistake. 

You can go here to read the rest of that review if you like.

If you'd like to see a little taste of the movie, I've embedded the trailer below.  Unfortunately, this video cuts off before it reaches the end, but it's fun nonetheless.

All in all, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it--to those who are seeking an old-fashioned, clean, romantic comedy.  If you want to see an accurate depiction of Jane Austen's novel, go with the 2009 Masterpiece adaptation.

So... what were your thoughts on this movie?


Maria Elisabeth said...

I've decided to be sensible and keep a running commentary while I'm reading your post. :)

Don't hesitate to shout you down in the comments? Okay, I won't. If there's anything to disagree with, that is.

Oh yes, there is. I thought Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma was very sweet and I liked her exceedingly. (Although that could just be because we look and act scarily alike)

Okay, what did you just say? Amy, m'dear, have you forgotten that it's not April Fool's Day? No nonsense, please.

Your Mr. Knightley? All right, you have your Mr. Knightley and Jeremy Northam's is my Mr. Knightley. At least we don't want to fight for him...

Don't mention Mark Strong's portrayal of Mr. K? I won't and I have no compunction calling That Guy that he played Mr. K. No relation to Mr. Knightley as he is.

Oooh, I was on the verge of tears too. That proposal was beautiful and they made it... beautifuller. Well, almost. Let me see. Is there anything I can agree wiht you on? Well, I will cheerfully agree that Mr. Knightley should have had more screen time. :P

You're making me laugh with all your quotes and paraphrases. Are you sure you're not a genius, m'dear? Minus the occaisional inaccurate opinion, of course.

Oh, you're talking about geniuses too. Odd, that. I thought that what this movie really changed to make it appealing to modern audiences were the times and fashion and languages, not the people's characters.

Anyways. What were my thoughts on this movie? I loved it. But you might know that already.

Melody said...

Heehee, now you ARE comparing yourself to Philippa and not Cynthia. ;D

You like period drama debates, do you? Haha. I'm glad for you. Maybe you'll have an easier time in [blogging] life.

I liked Jeremy Northam the first time I saw him because:
1) I had seen Mark Strong's 'portrayal' first and
2) I had not read the book yet
3) The 2009 version had not come out yet.
And now I'm a Jonny Lee Miller's Mr. Knightley fan. But I didn't need to tell YOU that, did I?

Haha, I have indeed gotten an earful (eyeful, rather) on the subject... but then so have YOU. >:D "Make them looong! We like them to laaaaaast!"
Heehee. :D

Are you reading Letters from Pemberley, or are you just basing that off of what you've heard about it? ;-) ;-)

Again, the proposal scene I liked well enough the first time I saw it... though it was a little too fake-mushy... and now, since Chapter 49 Of Emma Is My Favorite Chapter In Any Book In The World...

"I'm seeking it here, I'm seeking it there, and I can't find it anywhere..."
Sink me, the lady's a poet.

"hello, the woman doesn't often describe people so minutely--sit up and take notice!"
Haha... I think it's you who needs to give me back MY mind. ;D That's like... exactly what I've always said. Al. Ways. Except I don't usually call Jane Austen "the woman". BAHAHAHA.

Sorry, pet peeve. The ONE character portrayal I Did Not Like in Emmer09 was Jane Fairfax. She was completely wrong, if you ausk me. And her voice. It was too... squeaky. (I used to say she was too mousy to be Jane Fairfax, but now I like mouses too well...)

A while back you said you were going to do a comparison (or contrast) post about Emma/Knightley and Lizzy/Darcy dance, and I was amused because on THIS version, the Emma/Knightley dance is Mr. Beveridge's Maggot. Hahaha.

"I think really the biggest fault with this film is that the creators tried too hard to make it appealing to modern audiences."
--YES, YES, YES. Ex-act-ly, pre-cise-ly, with your usual acuteness you have hit the nail straight on the head.
(However, sadly, the 2009 version is a tad guilty of that as well. Just not AS guilty. :P)

Yesss, the costumes are often inaccurate. Thank you, dear. :D Not as bad as on the cover, though.

It's not Jane Austen's Emma, it's Miramax's Emma... did I subconsciously see that before I scrolled back up to start commenting? Because I was seriously going to say something almost exactly like that...

Why do they always put Little Women music in these trailers??? Hmmph.

Did you mention Emma's horrid hair? Because if you did... I missed it.

Anyway, I loved your review, as always. Especially as I agreed with it so well. I am a sad, sad girl, but when I agree with people I love their reviews. Heh.

Wow, long comment. I didn't mean to do that. But proberly you expected it anyways, didn't you, Twinnie?

Charity U said...

Oh good, glad you reviewed this! My review (since I just watched this too) is coming out soon...yup, sometime this week, I think.

I'll admit, I liked this Mr. Knightley a lot. And Emma...she was okay. You'll hear about all of this in my Emma comparisons (also coming this week). And Mark Strong -- oh, ugh. Can't stand him.

Now that you mention it...yes, the proposal wasn't so great. And you're also right that it's tough to cram the whole thing into such a short movie! One reason to greatly prefer the 2009 one.

I agree, it was funny! I loved that about the movie. :)

Ah yes... "A party is a party, but a party at Christmas...!" LOL. Had me laughing.

Ha, yes, Frank Churchill was rather funny! And it's too bad that they apparently cut out the whole trip-to-London-for-haircut part...he did need it! I liked the other 1996 Jane F best of the three I've seen.

And I LOVED this Miss Bates! Definitely my favorite. :) Totally agree about Michael Gambon owning the Mr. Woodhouse role.

Excuse my entering...I do it when I think of it. :)

Yes, the brother and sister quote was awesomely included! And the 2009 version utterly beats this one to pieces for the dance. It wasn't even that special in here! There, it's pretty magical, IMHO. :)

Okay, there you go. :) Looking forward to seeing what others say!

Anonymous said...


First of all, regarding the character of Emma, I'm just not a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow. Not to mention her hairstyles are horrendous! Even her voice is a bit annoying at times. I still enjoy this movie, but the Emma... well, just wasn't Emma!

THANK YOU. I'm sooo glad somebody agrees with me on Jeremy Northam. He's just so.. blah. He totally lacks the teasing, older-brother persona that Jonny Lee Miller totally nails. (I'm a rather large fan of JLM, so you'll have to bear with me...) Jeremy Northam is handsome though, so I'll give him that.

And the proposal scene! Gack! Where were all my favorite lines? JLM totally rocks the line, "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." *sigh* Melts me every time! Ahem, back to the '95 proposal scene. It's just... not right! Emma sounded whiny the whole time, and Jeremy Northam just sounded like he was reciting lines. There was hardly any real emotion!

I do like this Harriet, but my favorite Harriet is the '96 version of Emma (yeah... the one with Mark Strong, but we won't go there, will we?). She's pretty and naive, but seems to actually have a mind of her own. Definitely more realistic! But Toni Collette did a good job, but... Harriet was supposed to be very pretty, and well, my apologies to Toni Collette, but she wasn't.

YES. I love Ewan McGregor, but Frank Churchill's hair is ridiculous. I mean, really?

Amen, sister!! NOTHING can beat the dance scene in the 2009 version (well, nothing can beat the 2009 version period, but that's another matter entirely). It just dissolves me into a puddle every time. And then just the actual dance that Mr. Knightley and Emma do together in the 2009 version is so sweet... this may sound cheesy, but it almost looks like they could be on a music box or something. So pretty!

I've seen just about every version of Emma there is, but the 2009 version takes top. It is exquisite! I adore Romola Garai, I'm in raptures over Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal of Mr. Knightley, and just everything about it is so Jane Austen-esque! I love Emma's costumes, Mr. Elton is so slimy and hysterical, and all the characters are just spot-on.

Emma is my second favorite Austen story, and the 2009 version is simply the best version out there. =)

Rosamund Gregory said...

I agree with you for the most part.
The worst scene was the proposal, of course; and Mr. Churchill was ridiculous. I liked their Miss Bates, though.
~Rosamund at

Dave said...

Out of the three Emma productions that I have, I like that version the least, all pomp and circumvention. I prefer the 1997 version with Kate Beckinsale, Mark Strong, and the lovely and talented Samantha Morton as Harriet. Big fan after Jane Eyre. The characters are all just plain lovable, especially Emma's doting father, who is just hilarious with his quietly outrageous statements. We find that we can almost immediately dislike Mr. Elton almost as much as the fumbling Mr. Collins for the same reasons. Mr. Knightley was strong, convincing, and reserved, everything he should be, and when he reprimanded Emma, it was done very tastefully and persuasively.
All the characters were as they should have been and made for an intensely more enjoyable story. Another Andrew Davies home run!

Lauren said...

The main thing that bothers me about this version is that it feels like a modern American chick flick, just with British accents and Regency dresses (that aren't even very period correct!) Also, another random thing that bothers me is that most of the ladies cast in the film look like athletic modern women. Women didn't look fit back then...just saying:-)I would rather watch 2009 any day.

Hayden said...

M'dear, I must post a comment, and I promise I will not rip your head of for criticizing my favorite version (and I must admit you WERE kind about it and brought up some valid points. Like Frank Churchill's hair...*shudder* It's like the Thing from the swamp or something...:)

But I do like that quote of Frank's at the top. And Phil and are are chums. Across the divides of, you know, a hundred years or so. and reality and fiction. and countries.

I do really love Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma...Romola just rubbed me the wrong way sometimes. Not that I hated her in the role or anything, but she just wasn't "my" Emma...Gwyneth Paltrow is...and Jonny Lee Miller isn't "my" Mr. Knightley...Jeremy Northam is. (but I promise I'm not going to throw rotten veggies at you. Although I was tempted :) But like Maria Elisabeth so skillfully pointed out, I do not have to fight you for him. Although now Maria and I may be going at it... ;)

He SO needed more screen time though. I think you would have liked him better if he had...and yes, the proposal scene is not the best. If I'm NOT thinking about the book while watching it, I love it. But if I am thinking about it...and want the "less is more" bit thinging...I feel annoyed. So I just don't think about it (but have you ever noticed the more you try NOT to think about something, you end up thinking about it...grrr)

And...Mark Strong. was. not. Mr. Knightley.

not really.

Actually, I *don't* hate him. For it, it was just one of those "blah" bits.

"A part is a party..."
"Did I say it was an elephant, sir?"

hahaha...laughing at myself. Sorry. but whenever I hear a comment of a such-and-such is a such-and-such I must go and quote W&D and laugh.

And Miss Bates is my favorite in this version, bar none. Hil-ar-i-ous.

But I must go now...

Miss Woodhouse said...

I'm so glad you decided to review this version of Emma because it's one of my favorites despite its many flaws.

I used to like Gwenyth's portrayal over Romola's but I've changed my opinion.

I did like Jeremy Northam but he seemed a little too...I don't exactly know, but he wasn't very Knightleyish. :) He did do the 'badly done' scene really well - even better than JLM in my opinion. I didn't like how they took out the "If I loved you less..." line - I mean, I was reading that scene aloud to my sis and I could hardly keep from crying - it's one of the best lines in the entire book.

I didn't like Toni Collette's portrayal of Harriet at all - or EM portrayal of Frank Churchill.

Perhaps you would like to check out my review of Emma 1996 -

Miss Dashwood said...

Maria Elisabeth,
Yay! Let the debate begin...

Well, then, it is a good thing that we won't have to have a Knightley Fightley. :D You may have your Mr. Knightley and I will have mine, but it will be mine who will prevail. (And then you will not want to admit it.) Haha, random Emma 2009 paraphrasing there...

Oh, no, dear, I didn't mean that they changed people's characters! I guess I didn't make that clear-- I just meant that I felt they didn't do (most of) them justice. :D

Well, I was actually just basing the LfromP thing off of what you'd told me. :P But I do want to read it.

Well, you know how you might say that such-and-such guy is "the man"---well, in my book, JA is "the woman". Heehee. And I shall take your word about Jane Fairfax. But I still liked Laura Pyper better... I couldn't help it. I just need to read it again, I think.

Hahaha, I love it when you quote JE. :D And I'm not sure if that was actually Little Women music, or if that's just music that is often used in trailers and it also happened to be used in LW. :P

Of course I expected a long comment--which is why I was disappointed when I didn't see one (and then much amused when I realized it WAS here after all. I'm such a goose).

I've just begun watching the Mark Strong/Kate Beckinsale version, so I can't really give an opinion yet--but I have to say, I really like the looks of the actress playing Jane in that version. She looks good for the part.

And yes, I SO totally agree about the magic of the 2009 dance!

Ooh, goody. :D Oh yes, Jeremy Northam WAS handsome... but he needed a haircut. And he didn't quite seem old enough, IMHO. I had a hard time believing he was 37.

I haven't seen much of the A&E 96 version yet, but I've liked what I've seen so far of that Harriet. I think Toni Collette WAS really pretty, but they dressed her unflatteringly and gave her bad hairstyles. Unfortunate.

And I don't think the idea of the dance looking like a music box is cheesy at all. :D

Miss Dashwood said...

I liked Miss Bates too! And I think Mr. Churchill was supposed to be ridiculous, so that's not completely a bad thing...

I have to disagree with you about Mark Strong's Mr. Knightley--from what little I've seen, he strikes me as being far too stern and unpleasant! I really like Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal because I think he did an amazing job of combining Mr. Knightley's serious side with his funny side. "That young man is so full of himself, I am surprised he can sit upon that horse!"

Yep, I'm with you. :D

Ah, good, it's a relief to know my head is safe. This time. :D Thanks for respecting my opinion--I will respect yours in return! I can't agree with your opinion about Romola, but hey, we don't have to argue over Mr. Knightley. Perhaps I would have liked Jeremy Northam better if he'd had more screen time... I suppose we'll nevah know though. :D

HAHAHAHAHAHA, you REALLY made me laugh with the W&D quote! I love saying that! Squire Hamley is hilarious... I shall have to remember to use those two in conjunction. And yes, Miss Bates was ridiculously hilarious. :D

Miss Woodhouse,
I'm going over right now to check out your review!

Alexandra said...

Here I am, darling! I flatter myself to think that you were eagerly waiting. :-P Actually, not, since you know my opinion of all this. :-D

Will you kill me if I say that I hated Emma 2009 the first time I saw it? Cuz I did. There is bloggy evidence.

While Gwyneth can be a bit of an ice queen, she is so much more elegant and refined than Romola, which to me fit the character more. However, Romola did look more the age, but lacked the posture, as you said. I really disliked her in the beginning...she's since become one of my fave actresses...Amazing Grace redeemed her. But yes, she had to grow on me.

I just see it as there HAD to be a hero we had to disagree on. So yeah. Jonny Lee Miller is ok, but NOTHING to Jeremy Northam (IMO, IMO...). I actually hated him in the beginning, but grew tolerant as time went on. But he still is not "Knightley" to me :-P Sorry. :-D JN's the reason Knightley's my fave Austen hero. I don't need to elaborate that I said "Austen" and not "hero" period. You know that all too well. :-P But anyway. "Try not to kill my dogs." And the dancing-with-Harriet scene. And the proposal-which-you-bashed...

We will skim past it, which (the proposal) has me in a puddle of tears every time...and just stab in passing that I HATED the Emma 2009 kiss...the guy must always, always, always, always make the first move in the first kiss in my book (take lessons from some of my favorite proposal kissing scenes like North and South or Somewhere in Time or of course TSP, Mr. Jonny-version Knightley). I cannot begin to say how much I disliked it (ducks quickly). While I plan to save my first kiss for my wedding, I am a huge sucker for a nice kissing scene in a movie as you are probably aware of by now, and this one just left much to be desired. :-D That really spoiled an otherwise really nice proposal for me. Soooooo yeah. :-P

I liked Greta's Mrs. Weston much better than the 2009 one (duck) which is probably why I couldn't out-and-out hate her Tuppence despite the twistation (yes, I made that up) of the character.

I ADORE Sophie Thompson's Miss Bates (and I'm sure you know that Sophie is Emma Thompson's sister and Mrs. Bates in the film is their mother).

I *do* agree that this film has much more of a modern-romantic-comedy feel, which is probably jarring to the more diehards. And I can sympathise with disgruntled fans...I feel the same way about the Atrocity that Poses as the 1999 BBC version of TSP. So I understand y'alls pain.

I'm glad you liked Miss Smith, though...and I will agree about Frank!!! Although I love Ewan, his wig just left Much To Be Desired. And the one line about "are the darker forces at work here" sends my Star Wars geek brothers to laughing since Ewan's famous for Obi Wan Kenobi in the prequel films. :-)

Anyway. We must agree to disagree. That is the general idea. :-) Because I can't do anything without some reference to TSP. :-P

Melody said...

Miss Dashwood,
Haha, that's what I was wondering if you were doing. ;D

Jane Austen is not "the woman". She is "the lady". :D
I know what you mean though. ;)

Actually, I think I liked Laura Pyper better than this one, too. My favorite is Olivia Williams. Definitely.

The first time I used that JE quote, I think you didn't recognize it... haha. ;-)

Well it sounds like it was taken straight from the LW soundtrack TO ME.
That song.

And on the S&S preview, they have THIS song (around 1:45):

So there, Marilla. :D

Haha, the time I don't comment on a post like this would definitely be cause to double-check. ;)

BTW, Jeremy Northam was, in actual fact of point, about 34. So yep, he was too young. But only by a few years. Besides, according to Emma he was supposed to look young. ;D

JLM was like the exact right age... unless he was actually 36 when it was filming. Which is likely. But still.

Lauren said...

Hi Melody

I respect you onions, and I'll try not to be to forward in mine.

I have only seen a few scenes from the mini series, so I'm not the best judge. Don't worry, I will see it sometime. I'll just judge from what I could tell.

For one thing, Emma's character is more suited to Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth acts more like a rich well-to-do, upper class lady. From what I could se of Romola Garai was that she was a bit too unladylike and not very snobbish, true she is sweeter, but not Emma in my mind.

I won't say too much on behalf of Mr. Knightly (Jeremy Northam is my favourite Jane Austen hero, and I think I am treading on sensitive ground, I don't want to start a blogging war). Apart from I really like him, and I think he did an wonderful job. However, I don't mind Lee Miller as Mr. Knightly, so no offence taken.

I did like the proposal scene, better then the mini series. (commenters please don't abuse me over this)

However, I agree with all you said about Harriet Smith, Mr. Elton, Frank Churchhill and Miss Bates.

I really, really liked Juliet Stevenson's Mrs. Elton.

Jane Fairfax, hmm, I haven't really any thoughts on her, like you said sophisticated, elegant and quite nice, I thought she was a rather boring character.

The dancing scene wasn't as good as the mini series, I'll admit.

From Lauren

Somersaulting Through Life said...

I agree with you on every point! :O I found that GP was slightly irritating and showed an inaccurate depiction of Emma, and we barely saw Mr Knightley! Although it was funny, it was also rather bland compared to the 2009 version (which is my favourite adaptation!) I think Romola Garai shows the animation and business of Emma much better. Awesome review! Thanks. :D

Sarah White said...

I do agree with you! Whilst I like this film, it does manage to miss the 'Austen' feel a little. It is enjoyable as a period 'rom-com' in its own way but I agree it is perhaps just a little too 'American' at times. The 2009 version is definitely the most accurate although the Kate Beckinsale version is also very good. Still this film is ten times the adaptation that the 2005 Pride and Prejudice was!! (Sorry here's the boring bit now where I plug my blog!) Please check out and follow me on my Pictures and Paper blog - lots of period drama mentions on here! Thank you!

Abby said...

Hm, I need to see this version! After watching and loving the 2009 adaptation, I've never really wanted to see another version :') But from what I've seen of Gwyneth Paltrow, I suspect I'll feel much the same as you do about this one. But is it worth seeing just for Sophie Thompson's excellent Miss Bates? And Ewan MacGregor's ridiculous wig?
By the way, the Scarlet Pimpernel references had been giggling the whole way through. Bravo, my dear!


Katie Edwards said...

I've never actually seen this version. Of the two I have seen, I actually like the Kate Beckinsale adaptation best (although I find Mark Strong's Knightley about as romantic as cold tea.) I think Emma has to be brunette (Oooh, controversial!) probably because the model on my book cover is a brunette. I can't remember if her hair is actually described in the book... time for a reread perchance?

Caitlin said...

I adore jeremy northam!! I'll take my mr.knightly and you can take yours.

Melody said...

Did you mean to address Miss Dashwood or myself in your comment? Because you said "Hi Melody", but it seems like you just might have typed the wrong name... anyways, I cannot contain my curiosity any longer and I must know. ;-)

And Alexandra, I couldn't help a bit of your comment catching my eye... about the kiss in the 2009 version: this is a pretty gross discussion, haha, but as for the actual kissing part, Mr. Knightley DID make the 'first move'. :P Emma just... er... put her forehead on his and then stood still. :P


Lauren said...

Hi Melody

I was commenting to Miss Dashwood, I made a typo mistake. I really don't mind at all if you answer though.


Jessica said...

I have never cared much for this version of Emma. In fact, I disliked it so much I didn't watch it the second time for over 10 years, I believe. I can enjoy it now, but not too frequently. ;-)
May I add another critisism? Emma's hair. It annoys me in much of this movie, far too slicked back in quite a few scenes. The skinned rat look is not becoming on Gwyneth.

Allison said...

Oh. my. goodness. I just love your blog! I think it's the most ironic thing in the world that you seem to voice all my opinions on each review (of the movies I've seen) so so well. And I read the entire thing because it's so enjoyable. Keep it up!!! : D

Love Emma, never read the book but after watching the '09 version I fell in love. Watched GP one and the only thing I really liked about it was it showed Emma compassionately helping the old lady in the cottage. I DID NOT like Harriet, at all, ever! until the middle of the film. She was my favorite. So sweet and sensible and funny.

again, LOVE your blog and am now a follower!


Elizabeth said...

Well, Miss thing i did notice in this version of Emma, (totally unrelated to anything except costume) is that Mrs. Weston's dress (in the scene where emma is told by Mrs. weston that frank is engaged) looks like the very same dress...or IS the very same dress that Pet Meagles wore in Little Dorrit while she and her family where w/ Mr. Clennam in Spain.

anyhoo..just an observation that i thought might peak your interest. :)

Rissi said...

For years I loved this movie - and still do. But unlike most fans, I think I (almost) prefer the newest adaptation. My mom prefers the A&E version which is equally charming - you just have to look a little harder to find its qualities and give it more than one chance to see it shine. =)

Marie said...

We saw this awhile ago and my memory is rather foggy...I remember it is not as good as the other one(although we did see it first) and that I like the new Harriet better. It was funny though, like the part where Emma replaces her portrait of Harriet with the dog:-)

Holly said...

i LOVED this movie! i still don't see why you don't like it!
i haven't seen the 2009 version, but watched a few episodes on youtube, and it looked ridulous! emma acted too silly i thought and mr knightley had no expression. didn't like it much,
well, that's the impression i got from seeing a few scenes. i really want to watch the whole thing, but this version of emma will be forever my favourite! :)