The scenery and sets are very good, and I love the general color scheme—blues and pinks, yellows and minty greens—creating a vibrant, airy feel. The rippling theme music is thoroughly delightful, and a positive pleasure to sit down with at the piano! As a note, the hairstyles are often mentioned (and I do admit, a couple take a little getting used to), but after seeing this numerous times, I’ve decided they fit in very well with the overall tone of the story—indeed, several have become favorites (in that I’ve actually tried to copy them a couple times)!
As to the characterizations…
As to the characterizations…
I think Gwyneth Paltrow does an excellent job as Emma. Elegant and graceful, with delicately arch expressions and a warmth and depth of character (shown in great part by her gentle care of and concern for the suffering) she’s brings a fresh life and delight to Emma.
(This is a highly personal note, but along with distinctly one other, very different, period drama—the ‘04 North and South, or the 1975 as well, for that matter—this particular film always leaves me wanting to be more of a thorough lady—in both heart attitude, mind, and manners.)
Mr. Knightley is perfect! Straight-forward and direct, Jeremy Northam brings a wonderful charm and twinkle to the clear-sighted friend and lover. And he’s very tender (without being the least mushy) in his treatment of Emma.
The minor characters are all very well done…
There’s kind and mature Mrs. Weston (a particular favorite of mine)!
And the sweet and ever-cheerful Miss Bates…(another favorite).
The Eltons are delightfully funny without losing their superciliousness.
While this version really brings out Harriet’s warm-hearted goodness. (And yes, I really like how—underneath everything—she always likes Mr. Martin best!)
You don’t see a lot of Miss Fairfax, but she’s well done. (She’s also the most sophisticated Jane.)
And Frank is also good.
With this adaptation, I have to admit—in fairness—that they did tweak the lines quite a bit (paraphrasing, etc.), but I shall hasten to add that (obviously) I think they did an incredible job. Plot wise, there are a few small changes (i.e. Frank first suggests the Dixon connection, and the strawberry picking and Box Hill picnic are combined into one outing, etc.) while the developments are also abridged a bit (particularly at the beginning), but again, it’s all very well done and the explanations flow very smoothly.
I can see where it was given a more ‘modern’ feel in places, particularly with the long (or short) asides Emma has with herself, but by and large I think it contributes excellently to the lighter feel and faster pacing.
Partly because it is shorter, I think they opted to (not so much soften) as bring out more of the humor in the story; and—going straight to the heart of every scene—each one is distilled down to pointed, poignant perfection!
The singing scene is very well done.
|(I love this bit!)|
And throughout the film in its entirety there are also some most highly amusing and quote-adaptable lines such as:
“A party is a party, but a Christmas party…”
“I hope I’m not intruding.”
|(Just because we need another picture of Mrs. Weston.)|
And focusing particularly on the nature of friendship and the consequent charity necessary and binding among friends, the themes in this rendition are handled superbly.
The relationship between Mr. Knightley and Emma is beautiful. I love its portrayal of a wonderful, strong, honest, willing-to-say-the-hard-things friendship blossoming into and making a strong foundation for wedded love.
And...*spoiler* the entire ending is simply exquisite!
|(I just love it!!!! ;))|
In conclusion, I’d say that—altogether—if you’re meeting Emma for the first time (or period dramas in general), this is definitely the one I would recommend to begin with! A splendid adaptation—it’s lovely, refreshing, and a thorough enjoyment!