This BBC production, set in the small town of Highbury depicts the often hilarious attempts of Miss Emma Woodhouse to make proper marital matches for all of her friends. Though often mistaken in her judgement, she is counseled and criticised by her neighbor and brother-in-law, the wise Mr. Knightley whose attentions to her are motivated by more than brotherly love.Written by
Teresa B. O'Donnell <email@example.com>
The characters are seen playing cards with a modern deck of cards that show both the suit symbol (hearts, clubs, spades, clubs) and a number on each corner. During the time period the movie was set in, playing cards did not show the number of the card in the corners. See more »
The Twenty-ninth of May
From John Playford's 'The English Dancing Master', First Edition (1651)
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I rather liked this. Given that the film makers were not limited to two hours, they were able to be faithful and true to the book. The few alterations were negligible and in many cases improvements. For a taped, studio-bound TV production, the sets and props were attractive and varied. The costumes were lovely and I liked the variation from the blatant cleavage-bearing dresses of more recent productions. I really appreciated Emma's expressing out loud to various characters the thoughts and feelings that in the book she keeps to herself. Her ranting about Mrs. Elton to Knightly and his endearing amusement in her irritation was a wonderful touch.
I'm not sure I cared for several of the characterizations here as compared to how they're described in the book or played in other adaptations. Mr. Woodhouse and Jane Fairfax are both much too harsh and sharp. Though I loved the actor playing him, Mr. Woodhouse should be much more sweet-tempered and warm-hearted. Jane Fairfax should be more gracious. Her shouting at Miss Bates in her first scene is completely out-of-character, however her emotional stress and discomfort comes through much better here than is described in the book and really seems more authentic. For some bizarre reason, good-looking, 23-year-old Frank Churchill was cast with an unattractive, 40-year-old actor and his performance does not excuse the poor casting choice. He was the only real disappointment.
It was hard not to be reminded in some ways of the 1996 theatrical production. I really wondered if Gwyneth Paltrow saw this and decided to base her portrayal of Emma on Doran Godwin's. I saw many similarities, though I prefer Paltrow's depth of feeling. I prefer Debbie Bowen's Harriet to Toni Collette's. Miss Bates and the Eltons can each be played only one way and they are well-served here. All in all, if you're a fan of the book, this is a very satisfactory interpretation.
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