Emma (BBC, 2009) [Blu-ray]
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nicely done. Cute little romantic. I have never read this book before so I do not know how it compares.Published 10 hours ago by Jennifer Woodsworth
Romla Garai and Johnny Lee Miller make this an excellent adaptation of Emma. So beautifully filmed and well acted!Published 14 hours ago by Jennifer F Davis
Classic J. Austen done with a great cast. Jonny Lee Miller was superb.Published 16 hours ago by Shannon Hill
I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan (I know, uncivilized of me), but this was interesting, well-acted, and much preferable to available alternatives.Published 16 hours ago by O. McIntyre
If you are a Jane Austen fan, it's definitely for you. Great acting and writing. I really enjoyed this version of the classic Emma.Published 1 day ago by Anna, Long Beach CA
Beautiful production of this familiar novel. I found Romola Garai, as Emma, to be much too contemporary in her mannerisms, speech, physicalization. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Patricia