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Emma (BBC, 2009) [Blu-ray] (2010)

Romola Garai , Jonny Lee Miller  |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,089 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Tamsin Greig
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,089 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0038M2AP0

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
464 of 488 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is quite simply, the loveliest adaptation of "Emma"! December 30, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Being an avid Jane Austen fan, I have watched every single adaptation of Emma (as well as Austen's other works). The older 1972 BBC adaptation, Emma (BBC, 1972) was quite tepid and the lead actress was not very inspiring in her role, lacking the upbeat, and sunny disposition that one associates with Austen's character. Then there was the A&E version starring Kate Beckinsale in the title role, in Emma (A&E, 1997) which though much better than the 1972 version (which also suffered from inferior production qualities), was still not the best adaptation. Finally, there was the movie version of "Emma" starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and until this current adaptation, this was actually my personal favorite (even though I personally found Paltrow's accent rather stilted)- it was a gorgeous movie with beautiful cinematography and the chemistry between Emma (Paltrow) and Mr. Knightley (Jeremy Northam) was simply wonderful and altogether credible.

This is truly a stellar production in terms of casting, and production qualities. The title role of Emma is credibly portrayed by Romola Garai, who has also been in other notable productions such as I Capture the Castle,and Daniel Deronda. She is perfectly cast - luminously beautiful, snooty, a busybody matchmaker wannabe who feels self-justified in her quest to pair off couples regardless of their own wishes, and yet possessing of a warm and sunny disposition.
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176 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very badly done, Emma! December 6, 2009
I've seen the various adaptations of Jane Austen's "Emma," but no movie (or actress) really seemed to capture the lighthearted brightness, romance and sweetness of that book. Fortunately, such is not the case with the BBC's latest adaptation -- it's a sunlit, enchanting little story that dances along at a leisurely pace, and has a brilliant cast headed by the astonishingly good Romola Garai.

After matchmaking her sister and her governess Miss Taylor (Jodhi May), Emma Woodhouse (Garai) fancies herself an expert on human nature, and on "nudging" couples into matrimony. The acerbic Mr. Knightley (Jonny Lee Miller) isn't impressed.

And after Miss Taylor becomes Mrs. Weston, Emma ends up becoming best buddies with Harriet, (Louise Dylan) a sweet (if not very bright) young woman who is the illegimate daughter of "somebody." Emma becomes determined to pair Harriet with someone deserving of her, and focuses her efforts on matching Harriet to the rather smarmy but charming Mr. Elton. When Emma's latest matchmaking attempt falls apart, she vows not to mess with people's lives again -- but she can't help but be interested by Harriet's potential suitors.

At around the same time, two people that Emma has heard of her entire life have arrived -- the charming Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans), and the reserved and "perfect" Miss Jane Fairfax (Laura Pyper). Emma begins a flirtatious friendship with Frank, but for some reason is unable to get close to Miss Fairfax -- and ends up alienating her further on a disastrous day out. And as she navigates the secrets and rumors of other people's romantic lives, she begins to realize who she has been in love with all along.
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121 of 139 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good! But... January 16, 2010
By Melily
I really, really enjoyed this version of Emma, although there were a few aspects of it that I didn't really agree with. First, the good! JLMiller's Knightley is my favorite by far! He's not too wishy-washy, not too stern - he finds a perfect balance between boyish charm and firm, quiet manly goodness :). I thought Romola Garai was quite good as Emma as well, although at times I was a bit put off by her slightly modern mannerisms. Almost everyone else was really well cast - I especially appreciated that Ms. Bates wasn't portrayed as a complete fool (in the other films she seemed more like a caricature than a character to me).
Now the bad: Emma's modern mannerisms. Things like plopping down on sofas, and generally being a bit lacking in the grace department. If she thought so highly of herself, it seems to me she would have been a bit more self-aware.
Also, Mr. Woodhouse. He was just depressing. In the book he's portrayed as a lovable, slightly silly, worried old man, and I really thought Michael Gambon would do a really good job playing him, but I felt that his performance fell rather flat. I just felt uneasy and depressed watching him.
The last aspect I have an issue with is the script. It's a great script, but I would really like to have seen more of Jane Austen's witty dialogue in there. The script seems to rely a little too heavily on new ideas of humor, or to leave it out altogether. I just don't understand why more of Austen's subtle humor couldn't be included.
That said, overall I thought it was a really good adaptation, with a (mostly) spot-on cast, great acting, decent script, beautiful sets and costumes, and a lovely score. Oh, and I haven't mentioned the best part - people play the piano and sing, and it actually sounds like they're singing! There's no sudden prima-donna-on-a-sound-stage moment. That is a thing of beauty rarely experienced in most period movies. Five stars for that, minus one for slight character and script flaws.
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