Why Emma, I’m surprised!

So, as I am on my Austen kick currently I hired out a version of Emma (how many are there? I’m not sure, this was the only one I could find and came upon it by chance). The Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette version if there are others.

I was actually very surprised at the casting of Toni Collette, I don’t think I would ever have thought of her as Harriet Smith but she was lovely, although all I could think of in much of her scenes was “You’re terrible Muriel”. It is strange to think she is the same person who is now doing “The United States of Tara” which I have to say… not a fan.

Anyway, back on track 🙂

In the book, I always had this impression that Emma was doing what she thought was right and just wanted to help. I didn’t get that impression from the movie at all and wonder which one is right. I suppose Emma is meant to be the lovably flawed heroine but all I really felt was that she was a manipulative bitch who liked to play with those she called friends. Really, poor little Harriet, she would have been better off having never met Emma and just marrying Mr. Martin in the first place!

Then, after everything (and this might spoil anyone who hasn’t read/seen it and wants too… shut your eyes!) the most lovely and good character confesses his love even though he knows her completely. Why Mr Knightley! Oh yes, I did love Mr. Knightley and he was the real reason I hired the movie. I really, really wanted to know who they had cast and Jeremy Northam was quite lovely. I really enjoyed what they did with his character, most notably the “Oh no, she’s at it again” eyebrow raises.

It is strange how a different adaption of something can leave you feeling very different. At the end of the book I was filled with joy as I had hoped for Mr Knightley and Emma to sort their crap out! After the movie though, I thought that Emma should have been with Mr Frank Churchill and left Jane to Mr Knightley. Why? Well Mr. Knightley and Jane deserved so, much, better of course.

Overall, I’m left wondering if there is a better version of Emma. Perhaps, it was my dislike for Gwyneth Paltrow shining through though.

So now, am I the only one who will ever tempt fate by watching a film adaption of good book? Have you ever found a movie that came close? Let me know.

2 responses to “Why Emma, I’m surprised!”

  1. I daresay that the Return of the King, despite all the scenes that it cut out, carried the exact same heroic feeling that the book carried. I’d guess that the movie reflects the director/producer’s point of view on the book, and people can have very varied points of view.

  2. If you’ve never seen Clueless then you should check that out as a version of Emma to be reckoned with! And no I wouldn’t recommend any of the other adaptions of Emma – they mostly change the story in baaad ways.

    I see it as: Emma is young and arrogant and the whole thing is her growing up into a better person (which is why she gets her Mr Knightly). She’s probably my least favourite Austen heroine because she’s manipulative but I think that’s why most adaptions make her quite hard to like – they’re never played by anyone young enough.

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