Two hundred years after its publication, Jane Austen’s Emma remains a breath of fresh air; delightful, humorous, and romantic.
There was a surprising lack of truly villainous characters or events, instead, a parade of small parties, visits, and balls that fully engaged me in the life of Highbury. I found myself sighing through Miss Bates’ speeches, venturing forth suspicions, and smiling in delight at the banter of Emma and Mr. Knightley. The characters truly do make the book, and I loved the relationships between them – of course, Emma and Mr. Knightley, but also Emma and her father (funny and sweet!), the Westons, and poor, dear Harriet and her many loves. A personal favorite character was John Knightley, whose blunt observations never failed to amuse me. The sheer number of characters though, did make for a somewhat confusing start to the book, but after sorting that out a few times in my head, the rest was smooth sailing.
I thoroughly enjoyed Emma, and what’s more, I’m happy I decided to read the book before seeing the movie, which brings me too…
The only version of Emma available to me was the 2009 adaptation starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller; I sincerely hoped it would be what I enjoyed most about the book, and it was. As with Pride & Prejudice, I believe the length of a mini series made for a more enjoyable experience, and I was very happy with how accurate it was.
Romola Garai was almost exactly how I thought Emma should be. As for Jonny Lee Miller, he didn’t look at all like I’d imagined Mr. Knightley, but that didn’t matter anyway – from his very first stroll to Hartfield, he was Mr. Knightley. I found no complaint with the rest of the cast; they fit their roles very nicely (especially Jane and Mr. Woodhouse.)
And the costumes!!! This movie has the best costumes! My favorite of all the regency films I’ve seen thus far (which is only about three or four, so, no expert, but I loved them).
In a similar vein, the scenery was incredible.
In short, Emma – both written and watched – was wonderful, and is now a firm favorite with me. :)