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Emma (2009)

Television movie

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A Delectable EMMA

  • Feb 14, 2010
Rating:
+5
With the enduring interest in the novels of Jane Austen, an author eons ahead of her time as far as writing stories that dealt with women's view of the world, it is not unexpected that the film makers repeat versions of these rollicking tales. This may be the fourth or so version of EMMA and for this viewer it is the most successful. A large part of the success of this version of the novel is both the screenplay by Sandy Welch and the direction by Jim O'Hanlon who elect to open the graphic gates of Highbury with a sequence that shares with the audience the background of the diaspora of the children whose parents have died and whose lives will eventually come together as adults. It works very well in setting the scene and the mood of class distinction so prevalent in England of the period.

Emma is brought fully to life by Romola Garai and this role further establishes her as one of the more important character actresses on film. The remainder of the cast is perfectly balanced, with Michael Gambon as Emma's ever needy father, Jonny Lee Miller as the perfect Mr. Knightley, Lousie Dylan as the ditsy Harriet Smith, Tamsin Grieg as the hilariously boring and mouthy Miss Bates, the striking Blake Ritson as the vicar Mr. Elton, talented Laura Pyper as Jane Fairfax, and Jodhi May as the governess turned neighbor Anne Taylor. The ensemble casting is as fine as any of the Austen transitions to the visual and the cinematography and costumes are first class.

The words may not all belong to Jane Austen (Sandy Welch has introduced some very apropos new lines), but the feel of the novel would likely please the author as much as it pleases the audience. The 4 episode BBC production comes in two CDs and the quality of production is superb. In every way, this EMMA is a joy. Grady Harp, February 10

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About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #42
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Wiki

Although Jane Austen'sEmmahas been adapted for the screen many times before, including for an American version starring Gwyneth Paltrow, this four-part miniseries is the version to begin with. The story of Miss Woodhouse, a matchmaker and meddler whose wit and misdirection need to be carefully acted to match the novel's complex character, is perfectly expressed through Romola Garai's portrayal. Throughout the retelling of this comedic romantic drama, Garai not only conveys Emma's strong-willed sensibility but also manages to updateEmmafor modern audiences without relinquishing the traditional manners and tastes that Austen fans love in her 1815 historical tale. Each episode, here, opens with a seasonal shot of Hartfield, the estate Emma rules while caring for her loyal and kind but protective father (Michael Gambon). Having lost her mother early, Emma feels a bond with two other unfortunate children in Highbury, Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans) and Jane Fairfax (Laura Pyper), whom Emma befriends as they return home from boarding schools abroad.

The dramas that ensue revolve around Emma's attempts to pair lovers, with varied degrees of success. Episode One establishes Emma's curious desire to marry everyone off except herself. John Knightley (Johnny Lee Miller), Emma's childhood friend, is constantly by her side, coaching, supporting, and chiding her as she matures into an intelligent, regal young lady. Miller's ability to portray Knightley as ...

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Details

DVD Release Date: February 9, 2010
Runtime: 229 minutes
Studio: BBC Warner

First to Review

"A Delectable EMMA"
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