Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Young Bluestockings Attend the Cinema: EMMA (1996/Paltrow)

Welcome to "Young Bluestockings Attend the Cinema" at NineteenTeen!  Today we're discussing the 1996 feature film "Emma," starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, and Obi Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor!

(Interesting fact:  there were two adaptations of Jane Austen's "Emma" in 1996!  One was made for TV, and starred Kate Beckinsale;  the other was this, a little independent film with Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow.)

So: have you seen this "Emma"?

What did you think?

Did you like the costumes?

The casting?

The script?

If you've read the book, did you like the adaptation?

And perhaps most important of all, did you like the character Emma?

To aid the discussion, here's the cast list!

Gwyneth Paltrow … Emma Woodhouse
Denys Hawthorne … Mr. Woodhouse
Jeremy Northam … Mr. Knightley
Toni Collette … Harriet Smith
James Cosmo … Mr. Weston
Greta Scacchi … Mrs. Weston
Alan Cumming … Mr. Elton
Sophie Thompson … Miss Bates
Phyllida Law … Mrs. Bates
Polly Walker … Jane Fairfax
Ewan McGregor … Frank Churchill
Juliet Stevenson… Mrs. Elton

Please share your thoughts!  All opinions welcome!


Regina Scott said...

I know some will disagree, but I liked the movie. Gwyneth Paltrow's face was so expressive. Sometimes you could tell what she was about to say before she said it. I absolutely cringed at the scene where she was catty to the other lady, earning her a deserved set down from Mr. Knightley. I will admit, however, that I didn't think that as well motivated in the movie as it should have been. And I really liked how many of the scenes were set against action backdrops--archery, walking along the stream. It's something I need to remember in my books.

Eager to hear what others think.

Leandra Wallace said...

I haven't seen the movie...yet! But I think Paltrow's looks are perfect to play a Regency character.

QNPoohBear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
QNPoohBear said...

I liked it more this time around than when I saw it the first time.
My longish review is on my blog here

The best version is the one with Kate Beckinsale. This one left too much out to do the story full justice. The costumes and scenery are lovely though!

Regina Scott said...

Leandra, I agree! She has that high society look to her. Thanks for sharing your post, QNPoohBear! Glad you liked it better this time around.

Cara King said...

I really love this movie. I agree with QNPoohBear that it was cut down a bit too much, and certain things were never quite established -- but I think the movie still is funny, delightful, and quite romantic.

I love the look, the humor, the gowns, and Jeremy Northam. :-)

I like that they portrayed Emma as mostly a happy person (in contrast to Beckinsale, who just seemed miserable and unpleasant for most of it -- that's not the Emma who I see in the book.) I think if you see how much everyone loves Emma, it's clear that she has to be a fairly sunny person, or at least warm, or they wouldn't love her so much... See, I think when we modern folks read Jane Austen we can easily pay too much attention to what she shows, and discount what she tells, because of modern literary expectations -- so characters like Marianne and Emma (for whom the good parts are stated or implied and the bad parts are shown) can come across as too selfish or unlikeable...

Sorry, got carried away! :-)

I love the scene on Box Hill -- just so real, and Sophie Thompson gives a brilliant performance as Miss Bates there, slowly realizing the insult, and slowly dialing back her chatter as she realizes...

QNPoohBear said...

Actually the best version is Clueless! I loved that movie when I was in high school. I hadn't read Emma yet and had no idea the movie was based on the book.

Cara King said...

Yes, I love Clueless!!! I think that's the best interpretation of the character -- she's really vain and self-centered, but she's also so happy and loving that you understand why everyone loves her...


An Historical Lady said...

I have seen both films several times, and we even have a video tape of the Paltrow version found years ago at a resale shop for a couple dollars---(long since donated to a library). I will say that now stopped watching it after seeing the version with Kate Beckinsale, which, in our opinion is WAY BETTER---No comparison---the Paltrow version is, well, silly.

We watch the Beckinsale version probably once a year and never tire of it!

Charlotte Brentwood said...

I've always loved this version - it's my favourite "Emma" (although if we're counting Clueless that muddies the waters). Jeremy Northam is to die for, I thought Gwyneth was the perfect mix of snobby and well-intentioned, and Ewan McGregor is always a treat. Big ban of the costumes and the settings.


Unknown said...

I liked the movie, which is saying something as I'm not a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow at all. The rest of the actors/ actresses I think were fabulous and I just felt the uncomfortable anxiest between Emma and Mr. Knightly. I didn't know about the tv movie though with Kate Beckingsale so I will need to check that out. Thank you!

Regina Scott said...

Glad so many of you enjoyed the movie! I'm sure Cara, Marissa, and I would appreciate suggestions for future pics to view.

QNPoohBear said...

Future viewings could include Nicholas Nickleby - there's a Hollywood version and other versions. I've only seen the Hollywood version. Cranford is excellent - there are mostly older ladies but a few secondary young ladies; Return to Cranford has other young ladies; Wives and Daughters and of course every woman's favorite - North and South.

Regina Scott said...

Good thoughts, QNPoohBear. Thanks!