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ApathyMonger

Emma (2020)

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I watched the new Emma., starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn. Much more focused on the comedy elements than the other adaptations I’ve seen, and it mostly works. Bill Nighy is hilarious. It gets a bit too cartoony at points, especially the music, and the second half of the movie drags a bit. Still a lot of fun though, and the cast is excellent. Nice to see some of the Sex Education kids start to pop up in supporting roles.

I was also surprised that it was written by Eleanor Catton, novelist of The Rehearsal and The Luminaries. I like her books, but they’re very different to this.

I also watched the two 1996 versions before this. The Gwyneth Paltrow one is okay: A decent cast of then up-and-comers including Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, and Alan Cumming, but it feels a bit flat.

I liked the Kate Beckinsale TV movie more. It’s obviously a much cheaper production, but Beckinsale, Samantha Morton, and Mark Strong are great in the lead roles.

 

 

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I saw this tonight. It was enjoyable but far from my favorite Austen adaptation and not even my favorite version of Emma. I liked both the Gwyneth Paltrow movie and Romola Garai miniseries better.

I thought the costumes were beautiful. Miranda Hart was criminally underused. The actress playing Jane Fairfax was perfect. I liked Anya Taylor-Joy more than I thought I would based on the previews. I loved the preoccupation with people getting dressed/undressed. It really gave the physical sense of how confined the rules of society could be.

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I have to say, the commercials make this look terrible.  I love Miranda Hart, so I hope her Miss Bates isn't as much of a one-dimensional caricature as she appears in the commercial.  And I can't stand Anya Taylor-Joy's face - something about it drives me nuts.  So I'm not going to spend money to see this at the theater.  However, based on what I've read here, I would give it a chance when it hits cable.

 

On ‎02‎/‎14‎/‎2020 at 6:04 PM, ApathyMonger said:

also watched the two 1996 versions before this. The Gwyneth Paltrow one is okay: A decent cast of then up-and-comers including Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, and Alan Cumming, but it feels a bit flat.

I liked the Kate Beckinsale TV movie more. It’s obviously a much cheaper production, but Beckinsale, Samantha Morton, and Mark Strong are great in the lead roles.

There are things I like about both versions.  I love Greta Scacchi, Juliet Stevenson and especially Jeremy Northam in the Paltrow version, but Samantha Morton is a vast improvement on Toni Collette.  And I really enjoy Mark Strong's slightly different and yet equally appealing take on Mr. Knightley. 

Okay, I looked Taylor-Joy up on IMDB and realized where I'd seen her before: The Miniaturist.  Which was bad, very bad, and she was bad in it.  So that probably explains most of my dislike.  Although the weird proportions of her face and her overly pouty expressions don't help.

Edited by proserpina65
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On 2/14/2020 at 6:04 PM, ApathyMonger said:

Much more focused on the comedy elements than the other adaptations I’ve seen, and it mostly works. Bill Nighy is hilarious.

Bill Nighy, the clothes, Hartfield, and Donwell were the parts I liked best. The footmen at Hartfield and Mrs Elton made me laugh a bit as well, but other than that none of the characters felt right to me. Isabella and John seemed so sour and Jane Fairfax quite grim.

 

On 2/27/2020 at 1:32 PM, proserpina65 said:

I love Greta Scacchi, Juliet Stevenson and especially Jeremy Northam in the Paltrow version, but Samantha Morton is a vast improvement on Toni Collette.  And I really enjoy Mark Strong's slightly different and yet equally appealing take on Mr. Knightley. 

I would add Sophie Thompson's Miss Bates to the list of great elements of the Paltrow version. I like Miranda Hart a lot but I didn't think that this version did a good job of illustrating her station in life until Mr Knightley spelled it out in words of one syllable.

This Mr Knightley seemed to lack the polish of Jeremy Northam or Mark Strong, probably at least in part due to his hair.

I also spent some time wondering how Emma managed to get those tiny corkscrew curls by doing her hair up in rags.

Spoiler

What on earth was up with Emma getting a nosebleed?

 

Edited by SomeTameGazelle · Reason: more hair thoughts
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I saw it today. What a lovely film.

Having seen Clueless several times, it was fun trying to guess who was who.

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On 2/27/2020 at 10:32 AM, proserpina65 said:

Okay, I looked Taylor-Joy up on IMDB and realized where I'd seen her before: The Miniaturist.  Which was bad, very bad, and she was bad in it.  So that probably explains most of my dislike.  Although the weird proportions of her face and her overly pouty expressions don't help.

Ever since the commercials for this started playing, it was driving me crazy trying to remember where I knew her from. I finally realized it was from this Hozier video

 

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On 2/28/2020 at 10:17 PM, SomeTameGazelle said:

Bill Nighy, the clothes, Hartfield, and Donwell were the parts I liked best. The footmen at Hartfield and Mrs Elton made me laugh a bit as well, but other than that none of the characters felt right to me. Isabella and John seemed so sour and Jane Fairfax quite grim.

 

I would add Sophie Thompson's Miss Bates to the list of great elements of the Paltrow version. I like Miranda Hart a lot but I didn't think that this version did a good job of illustrating her station in life until Mr Knightley spelled it out in words of one syllable.

This Mr Knightley seemed to lack the polish of Jeremy Northam or Mark Strong, probably at least in part due to his hair.

I also spent some time wondering how Emma managed to get those tiny corkscrew curls by doing her hair up in rags.

  Reveal spoiler

What on earth was up with Emma getting a nosebleed?

 

The nosebleed was real.  The actress gets them sometimes.  They just decided to go with it as if it was in the script.

I enjoyed it a lot.  I particularly liked how the dance seen was done.  I loved how Knightley was so moved that he chased after her carriage.  I thought that was a great way to demonstrate the level of emotion.

Edited by Luckylyn
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3 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

The nosebleed was real.  The actress gets them sometimes.  They just decided to go with it as if it was in the script.

I have read that the director, Autumn de Wilde, frequently gets nosebleeds so she thought that giving Emma a nosebleed would evoke the emotional turmoil she is experiencing. I can't say it particularly worked for me.

 

https://www.salon.com/2020/02/24/emma-nudity-bloody-nose-anya-taylor-joy-johnny-flynn-de-wilde/

Quote

 

The plan for filming the scene was to cut away from Taylor-Joy, apply the fake blood, and then continue shooting. The actress' nose had other plans though.

"This is going to sound crazy, but please just roll with me on it. Whilst we were doing the scene, my nose started bleeding and it bled when it was supposed to [in the script]. I have no idea how it happened, but I got a nosebleed on cue," says Taylor-Joy.

 

Quote

"I'd get nosebleeds all the time. Every time I was in homeroom, and it was your turn to stand up and read something I would get a nosebleed. I'm so fascinated with the human body betraying you," says de Wilde.

I read another article about how everyone involved with the film agrees that Mr Knightley is a "mansplainer" which I don't think is exactly fair. When Mr Knightley lectures Emma it is usually because he is defending the rights and interests of people who are lower than she is on the social scale and she is harming them in some way. I did like the fact that in the movie when he scolds Emma for her treatment of Miss Bates at Box Hill, Emma is in her carriage towering over him so it doesn't feel like Mr Knightley is bullying her.

 

4 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

 I particularly liked how the dance seen was done.

I enjoyed the style of dancing very much.

 

 

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Saw the movie today and really enjoyed it. It's a different take on the story and it's good to get "new" versions. The Paltrow version was pretty faithful and people all looked the part. This version, not every one fit my vision -- like Mr. Knightly -- but I loved the emphasis on the comedy and the emotion between Emma and Knightly that was more visceral, earlier in the movie. In terms of the comedy, for instance, I loved how they fleshed out John and Isobel. In the Paltrow version, they're barely there and are paragons of virtue. In this movie, they have personality and aren't perfect. In fact, with the way Isobel acted, you can see where Mr. Woodhouse's OCD-ness rubbed off on his older daughter.

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Haven't seen the movie, but for me one of the major strengths of the book is that Emma is actually not a great person for a good part of the book. She behaves in classist and snobbish ways that could very well have resulted in ruining the lives of Jane Fairfax, Robert Martin and Harriet Smith. And she does it because she's bored and thinks she's entitled and they are just puppets there for her amusement. I know she tries to rationalize it as "for Harriet's own good" or something, but she's pretty damn cruel and manipulative.

The moment a film tries to scrub it away and soften it up, IMO it misses a central theme of the book (as the Paltrow version did, though I like aspects of it anyway). Emma growing in self-reflection and empathy is the main point of the book IMO. Knightley is there for the ride, but he doesn't have to be essential for it. But that self-realization needs to happen, if it doesn't, IMO any movie adaptation has missed the point.

Edited by katha
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On ‎02‎/‎28‎/‎2020 at 10:17 PM, SomeTameGazelle said:

I would add Sophie Thompson's Miss Bates to the list of great elements of the Paltrow version.

Oh, I agree, she was wonderful, and her performance really captured the tragedy of being trapped in her situation.

20 hours ago, SomeTameGazelle said:

I read another article about how everyone involved with the film agrees that Mr Knightley is a "mansplainer" which I don't think is exactly fair. When Mr Knightley lectures Emma it is usually because he is defending the rights and interests of people who are lower than she is on the social scale and she is harming them in some way

Nope, nope, nope, Mr. Knightley is not a mansplainer.  As you point out, his critiques of Emma's behavior are well-deserved, and in defense of those who cannot defend themselves to her.

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On 3/2/2020 at 1:26 AM, katha said:

Haven't seen the movie, but for me one of the major strengths of the book is that Emma is actually not a great person for a good part of the book. She behaves in classist and snobbish ways that could very well have resulted in ruining the lives of Jane Fairfax, Robert Martin and Harriet Smith. And she does it because she's bored and thinks she's entitled and they are just puppets there for her amusement. I know she tries to rationalize it as "for Harriet's own good" or something, but she's pretty damn cruel and manipulative.

The moment a film tries to scrub it away and soften it up, IMO it misses a central theme of the book (as the Paltrow version did, though I like aspects of it anyway). Emma growing in self-reflection and empathy is the main point of the book IMO. Knightley is there for the ride, but he doesn't have to be essential for it. But that self-realization needs to happen, if it doesn't, IMO any movie adaptation has missed the point.

I was browsing Rotten Tomato's reviews of this movie, and found one that really spoke to me regarding Emma's character:

Quote

This Emma seems to regard those around her less as people in need of her skills, and more like butterflies she can’t wait to pin down to a decorative board for her own amusement.

I do think that yes, Emma is classist and snobbish but I also believe she genuinely thinks she is helping the people around her. Which didn't come across so well in this version.

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I gotta say, I was disappointed by this version. There were seeds of possibility that never seemed to bloom for me character-wise. And on the shallow side, those tiny Claire's store quality faux hair ringlets were distracting.

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I personally enjoyed this. And how swooney was Callum Turner as the Austen cad?

This definitely leaned more into the comedic elements and it seemed to land well- I was hearing people laugh along with me.

The dance scenes were great, and the peacocking between Frank Churchill and Mr. Knightley was great.

*Surprised to learn that Johnny Flynn is 36-37- I was going to say something about how I expected Mr. Knightly to be older, and it turns out he still is. The actor just looks young with his hair like that.

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I think if they had shown more of Miss Bates and Mrs Bates at home, earlier in the movie, it would show more how poor they really were.

Only two quibbles with this version:  Emma and Mr Knightly were not wearing gloves when they danced together. That would have been a big faux pas.  Enjoyed the dance scene a lot otherwise.  Also, Mr Woodhouse would not have run down the stairs, near the beginning, like he did.  He would have been too afraid that he would fall and break a hip.  Or get a cold from the draft caused by moving so fast.

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Agreed, the costumes were lovely. I thought the movie was great - I really enjoyed the comedy aspects. 

On a completely shallow note, the actress who played Harriet is uncommonly pretty. She has quite an expressive face and I thought she was a delight.

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I was excited when I read that Emma would be one of the movies made available on Friday by Universal.  I wanted to go and see this but couldn't make it  during the first weekend it was out and realized it wasn't prudent after that.

But then I read rental would be $19.99 for 48 hours...and I got less excited.  I get that they're selecting a price because they're expecting multiple people to watch the rental but since I likely would have gone alone, this does not excite me.

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On 3/17/2020 at 1:19 AM, Irlandesa said:

I was excited when I read that Emma would be one of the movies made available on Friday by Universal.  I wanted to go and see this but couldn't make it  during the first weekend it was out and realized it wasn't prudent after that.

But then I read rental would be $19.99 for 48 hours...and I got less excited.  I get that they're selecting a price because they're expecting multiple people to watch the rental but since I likely would have gone alone, this does not excite me.

Agreed! I’m also very, very attached to the miniseries version, so I’m a little wary of this one. 

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