Well I think this movie did a much better job of that than the Paltrow version, which is the only version I have seen. I really think Anya did a really good job of understanding how horrible it was re what she said to Miss Bates. And from there she learned that how she manipulated Harriet not to accept Mr. Martin's proposal was a terrible thing. So I believe that Emma's arc is much better portrayed here. You can see Emma making the insulting comment to Ms. Bates in this version. It wasn't believable in Paltrow's version.
I thought Mia Goth as Harriet was superb. Bill Nighy bringing life to Mr. Woodhouse was fantastic. Nobody will every replace Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightly for me. Fantastic surprise to see Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston - when I last saw her as Yara on Game of Thrones. Unfortunately this Frank Churchill was a non-entity to me. The actor doesn't have anywhere near Ewan McGregor's charisma. IMO.
And most importantly there were servants here in spades. You understood that they did everything for the upper class. Including unrolling Emma's stockings at the end of the day.
The nose bleed scene at the end was a WTF for me at least.
I did like the focus on the humor and the music worked for me as well as the cotton candy palettes.
The clothes might have been confining for men but in terms of women - the empire-waist dresses for women was much more liberating that the styles that came before and after.
Here's a brief excerpt from Wikipedia on how it came about:
"Fashion in the period 1795–1820 in European and European-influenced countries saw the final triumph of undress or informal styles over the brocades, lace, periwigs and powder of the earlier 18th century. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, no one wanted to appear to be a member of the French aristocracy, and people began using clothing more as a form of individual expression of the true self than as a pure indication of social status. As a result, the shifts that occurred in fashion at the turn of the 19th century granted the opportunity to present new public identities that also provided insights into their private selves. Katherine Aaslestad indicates how "fashion, embodying new social values, emerged as a key site of confrontation between tradition and change."
For women's dress, the day to day outfit of the skirt and jacket style were practical and tactful, recalling the working-class woman. Women's fashions followed classical ideals, and tightly laced corsets were temporarily abandoned in favor of a high-waisted, natural figure. This natural figure was emphasized by being able to see the body beneath the clothing. Visible breasts were part of this classical look, and some characterized the breasts in fashion as solely aesthetic and sexual."