Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Miss Woodhouse

I've finally got around to watching all of the new BBC production of Emma. I have to say I loved it. I hear some people were less than thrilled, though I don't know their reasons, but I thought it was lovely. It's the only one of the three Emma films I've seen where I liked the actors for both Emma and Mr. Knightley (I absolutely can't stand Gwyneth Paltrow for no particular reason, and the Knightley in the Kate Beckinsale version was boring). I thought they did a good job both in translating the mood of the book and in making it romantic enough to appeal to modern viewers (which of course they can't help doing, so at least they did it reasonably well).

Emma was not a book I expected to like before I started it. This, of course, was back in the day where I still thought my chances of liking a Jane Austen novel weren't assured. With that reaction, it's funny that it's become one of my favourites. I love Pride and Prejudice for being my first Jane Austen, Persuasion for the story, Mansfield Park for Fanny Price and because it was the first one where I really and truly appreciated Jane Austen's writing, and Emma because it's so very very good. I think it's possibly the most rounded out of the six novels.

Emma is also a very sentimental story for me because somehow it's become a book that is part of the definition of my relationship with my best friend. In a lot of ways we use it to help articulate what we mean in conversations, as a reference point for rather a lot of different topics (which I suppose further points out the roundedness of the book).

With all this in mind, it is absolutely lovely to finally see a film version of Emma that I really feel does it justice.

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