The Three Emma’sPosted: August 13, 2011
I thought I’d do something different from my usual movie review and compare the three versions of Jane Austen’s Emma (there are numerous adaptations, of course, but these are the three that I’ve seen.)
The Movie: Miramax’s Emma (1996)
My least favorite, because I can’t stand Gwyneth Paltrow. She makes Emma so much more annoying than the character already is that I just want to slap her. And Toni Collette is, in my opinion, a baffling choice for Harriet Smith. The only good thing about this movie is Jeremy Northam. His Mr. Knightley is my favorite, but even he can’t save this one.
The TV Movie: A&E’s Emma (1996)
Out of the three I think this is the least-known version, starring a young Kate Beckinsale (before she started playing all those vampires) and Mark Strong (before he started playing all those villains.) Kate Beckinsale’s Emma is my favorite – she has the perfect mix of self-importance and vulnerability. And Mark Strong is great, as always. Overall an adequate version. I would’ve liked it better if not for the weirdly drawn-out ending.
The Mini-series: BBC’s Emma (2009)
This one has the best overall cast. Romola Garai did a good job as Emma, and Johnny Lee Miller is cute, though his Mr. Knightley isn’t gruff enough (I think.) However, Emma isn’t enough material to fill 4 one-hour episodes, so this version is kinda boring.
Honorary Mention: Clueless
I know that this, technically speaking, isn’t an actual adaptation of Emma, but it’s my favorite because it manages to capture the spirit of the story and the characters.