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It took me two nights to finish the last Emma movie in the stack. It stars Doran Godwin as Emma, and John Carson as Mr. Knightley. This one is not for the faint of heart–it’s over 4 hours long!
Godwin was technically a decent Emma. She recited all of her lines well and had great enunciation. She also had the air of a lady about her. However, there was an aloofness to her character which I thought didn’t fit Emma well. The numerous instances where she was downright rude to her father were so out of character. It also seemed like Godwin was a bit old to play Emma. Carson was a respectable Mr. Knightley. His behavior, language and manner all fit. I just wish his character had been a little more charming, or something that would make the viewer care about him. He also seemed a little old to me.
I don’t know why this should bother me, but I thought Harriet was much prettier than Emma. For some reason I think that Emma should be quite pretty. Emma’s sister was downright annoying–there really is no nice way to put it. Her voice was grating and I couldn’t take her character seriously. In fact, there were several characters who just didn’t seem to fit their intended role, including Mrs. Weston and Frank Churchill. Jane Fairfax was quite an enigma. Most of the time she seemed to fit, but there were a few instances when she had major emotional outbursts that were mystifying and ridiculous. Jane’s piano playing and singing were subpar, as well. I suspect that some of these acting issues stemmed from the use of stage actors who were perhaps unused to acting for TV.
Mr. Woodhouse was an interesting character in this version. He was quite active and sprightly, though worrying about everybody’s health all the while. Something that I thought didn’t fit is that he was largely ignored by Emma and Mr. Knightley. That simply isn’t true to the book at all.
The costumes were alright, though some looked chintzy. There were a few frocks trimmed with white feather boas that caused me some consternation.
The overall plot of the story was fairly faithful to the book, with only a few scenes left out or changed. The dialogue was also very similar to the book, though I did notice some additions.
Probably the biggest letdown was the scene in which Mr. Knightley declares his love to Emma. It was so devoid of real emotion that he could have been talking about what he had eaten for dinner that day.
So, I would not recommend this version unless you are one of the most stalwart Jane Austen fans on the planet. You’ll be bored. 🙁
Rating: 1 Star
Until next time…
OTHER EMMA POSTS:
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Emma – Movie 1996
- Emma – Movie 1996 (Gwyneth Paltrow version)
- Emma – TV Mini-Series 2009