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Emma, 2009/10 (Part 2)

I continued to enjoy the latest adaptation of Emma; thank goodness for low expectations! I’d like to watch the un-cut version of the show before really passing judgment, but this adaptation was better than what we were subjected to two years ago.

It’s not perfect, but they did add some touching scenes between Emma and her father, which helped us emotionally attach to the characters. I liked the actress playing Jane; she is reserved, pretty and delicate as Jane should be. Michael Gambon does a nice job as Mr. Woodhouse, but the script never shows us what a generous, kind man he was. However, I thought Miss Taylor/Mrs. Weston was too dowdy and Frank Churchill was over the top. I’m undecided about Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller; it’s hard to decide when some of their scenes have been cut out of the PBS airing.

The settings, both the homes and the exteriors, are wonderful. The DVD appears to have an extra about the locations, which I frequently enjoy learning about. (Ode to travel to the U.K. again!) I also like the costumes and color pallets they used. I’m not sure that all of Emma’s bonnets were the correct period, but I liked them anyway. I noticed that Knightley’s waistcoats sometimes hinted at the color of Emma’s dresses; a subtle touch. But speaking of Knightley…what was with his jackets? Not once did Miller, who played Knightley, have his jacket buttoned. His waistcoat was always buttoned, but never his jacket. Did they save money on his jackets and use leftovers from other productions? Was Miller too big for these outfits? The only time his jackets were “closed” was when he wore a button extender. What’s up with that? Oh, and that green jacket with the velvet collar…awful, awful! (Chats, waiting for your opinions on this!)

I didn’t like how this adaptation split the Box Hill scene into two separate scenarios. I’m sure this was done to get tension into the third hour, but there was so much animosity before the Box Hill trip that I wonder they went at all. (And was it really Emma’s first trip to Box Hill? I can’t remember.) The conversation where Frank slips about who wrote to him about Mr. Perry and the playing with the alphabet blocks are separated from the Box Hill scenes and moved forward in the story. The actor playing Frank gets himself so worked up in these scenes and the Donwell Abbey scenes, that he’s completely unlikable and his, and Emma’s, behavior at Box Hill is too uncouth.

And why is it that so many of the Emma adaptations subject us to scenes portraying Emma’s flights of imagination? Can’t they create a script conveying these themes without the “dream” sequences? And Harriet Smith sort of disappears in the last two hours and that diminishes the mystery of who her secret attachment.

There were other quibbles, but I’ll stop. There were several nice touches too, such as the hand holding behind Emma’s back when she and Knightley tell Mr. Woodhouse their secret…in a brief, totally silent scene. Again, overall a decent production and I’ll enjoy watching what I hope is an un-cut DVD version. (Part 1 of my review is here.)

I would love to have a Jane Austen book and movie club. Unfortunately, the friends that would enjoy it are too scattered to meet in one location. Maybe a Facebook group? Help…I want to do it. ;-) Come join me!! (Oh dear, is this akin to Mrs. Elton suggesting a music club?!?! I hope not!)

Oh, but wait, I haven’t mentioned the donkey and Mrs. Elton…well, I’ll save that for another day, or for the club.

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