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The daughter of a country doctor copes with an unwanted stepmother, an impetuous stepsister, burdensome secrets, the town gossips, and the tug on her own heartstrings for a man who thinks of her only as a friend.
Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, to have a loving father whom she cares for, friends and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors for her friends, most of all Harriet Smith. Emma is desperate for Harriet to find happiness, but every suitor she finds for her friend ends up attracted to Emma herself. But is Emma so focused on Harriet's happiness that she is not considering her own happiness in love?Written by
Mel from the Untied Kingdom
"Emma" (2009) has now become one of my favourite mini-series, closely following the 1995 version of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice", with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.
"Emma" is a beautiful adaption of Jane Austen's classic novel of the same name. The story is based on Emma, the pretty daughter of a wealthy gentleman, Mr. Woodhouse, and her attempts at matchmaking people in her neighbourhood. It is an engaging, sweet and playful movie, which is touching and a delight to watch.
When compared to the 1996 adaption of "Emma", with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim O'Hanlon's version is superior; this is partially due to the length. The four part mini-series enables the characters and plot to be developed with more detail than in the feature film. In particular, you are able to see Emma mature and watch her relationship with Mr. George Knightley change. More of the original text and dialogue is included which makes the series more believable. Watching a Jane Austen film, I personally believe, should be like taking a vacation. You should be able to slow down, enjoy the slower pace of the era and enjoy making your own observations of characters, while enjoying the beautiful scenic shots. This is what you get with the 2009 mini-series – time, whereas the 1996 film is rushed, with a lot crammed into a few hours.
The cast is excellent. Romola Garai is a youthful, vivacious and expressive Emma Woodhouse. What impressed me the most was her ability to present not only Emma's love of life and enthusiasm but her innermost thoughts as well; when she is reflecting or unhappy about something but trying to "put on a brave face" we see it. Although I like Gwyneth Paltrow, she is not able to portray the youth and innocence of Emma as well as Romola Garai. Johnny Lee Miller is a handsome and intelligent Mr. George Knightley and Michael Gambon is a very lovable Mr. Woodhouse, although I identified him as "Dumbledore" immediately. The only character that I do not fully believe in is Mr. Elton. Perhaps it is just personal preference but I do not think that Blake Ritson portrays the handsome and gentlemanly Mr. Elton successfully; he is more of a "Mr. Collins". However, he is the only character who I have not taken to.
Like many of the BBC productions, the historical buildings, props and gardens used are amazing. When watching the mini-series, keep an eye out for some of the incredible landscape shots throughout the film.
The costuming for the film is quite proper. However, I would have liked to have seen Emma in a few prettier gowns. Although she lives in the country, I think as a wealthy young woman she should have had some more expensive looking gowns. I also would have liked her to have her hair in some more elaborate styles.
However, all in all, the mini-series is fantastic. I love the scenery, the actors are superb, the pace is just right and the story a classic. It is a beautiful adaption and I strongly recommend watching it.
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