Emma – Movie 1996

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I watched another adaptation of Emma last night.  This one stars Kate Beckinsale as Emma, and Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley.  (If you want to know my thoughts on the book, check out my review.)

In this version, Emma comes across as conniving and underhand in her dealings with others.  She’s also thoughtless and unfeeling in how she treats Harriet.  Mr. Knightley is a correct gentleman, but a little lacking in friendliness and warmth.  He seems to be more of a taciturn and stormy character.  I’m not crazy about how these two characters were portrayed in this movie, but this may have been the director’s vision for them.

Frank Churchill does an excellent job of coming across as a playboy–charming and completely insincere.  I really like how John Knightley was portrayed in this film.  His dry wit and sarcasm come through loud and clear in the few scenes in which he takes part.  Mr. Woodhouse was also played excellently.

There were a couple of unique things in this version that I appreciated.  The beginning and ending of the movie are tied together by the machinations of poultry thieves!  It was also kind of fun to see a series of Emma’s daydreams about various people marrying, with the characters frequently changing.

The one thing that weirded me out was when Mr. Knightley was talking about holding Emma as a baby.  That’s just creepy when you think about it.

I enjoyed this movie, but it’s not my favorite adaptation of Emma.  I had a hard time connecting with Emma, which makes it hard to really enter into the story.  For me personally, her character wasn’t likable enough.  Because she has some major character flaws, there has to be something redeeming in her character to make me care about her.  That’s where I think the movie fell short.

I recommend Emma if you are a Jane Austen fan or like a good romantic movie.  It’s probably a one-time view for me.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…




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