Having grown up on Gwyneth Paltrow’s portrayal of Jane Austen’s Emma, I was a little skeptical about the latest version of Emma from BBC. After some minor shifting in my mind of what Emma looks like, I discovered that the new “Emma” wasn’t at all bad. In fact, I grew to love it. BBC has a talent for bringing beautiful British stories to the screen without being at all Hollywood about it. The nuances and details are often lost in our American movies.
The great thing about a mini-series is that, if you like the story, you have more hours than an average movie to savor all the delightful plots at a slower pace. It’s more like reading the actual book, in that way.
Romola Garai, whom I recognized from “Nicholas Nickleby”, did a splendid job of acting all of Emma’s charm and cheerfulness and conniving. Jonny Lee Miller (from the film version of “Mansfield Park”) did a good job as well, though I confess I still favor Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley. And of course, the legendary Michael Gambon worried and fretted as a classic Mr. Woodhouse.
As usual with Jane Austen flicks, I found myself enthralled by the gorgeous costumes in “Emma”. The costume designer gave Emma an elegant look that fitted her social ranking and yet was sedate enough for the countryside. Romola Garai wore some lovely straw hats in the summer scenes and was dressed in yellows and blues and pinks that fit Emma’s carefree personality. The men were well-dressed as well, and the details in their outfits are quite impressive.
This is my favorite scene – of course, it’s the proposal!