Jane Austen’s diverting and delightful Emma has intrigued audiences, in print and on screens for many years. Emma is a woefully well-intended but misplaced matchmaker, suppressed adventuress, and a stymied intellectual. Her main foil is her own Queen Bee attitude; her immature overconfidence that she knows best for everyone.
Along with her overprotective father, her handsome and under-appreciated neighbour/brother-in-law and a whole cast of other characters Emma takes a winding and oft self-deceiving journey to a place she should have explored long before – her own heart.
I enjoyed much of this 2009 TV adaptation.
Jonny Lee Miller (a divine Mr. Knightley) was too background. They needed to use Miller and Michael Gambon to more effect. They really needed to use this whole cast to better effect. For heaven’s sake why hire brilliant actors and then under- utilize them?
The chemistry with Garai and Miller is fabulous, the cut and thrust of their conversations scrumptious, but sparse.
The flow of the series leans at times toward tentative and expected. Emma should be more bold, joyful, and flourishing in it’s a journey of self-discovery.
Overall, this series was charming, efficient, and lovely, but how many versions of Jane Austen novels do we need? Many will disagree, but I would like to see some other stories told, perhaps some that are more unfamiliar to us. While it is cozy to watch a story so beloved and memorable, why not give us some other classics, or lesser known works that we may also enjoy? I know the answer. Money. People flock to the recognizable.