The Three Emma’s

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.

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7 Comments on “The Three Emma’s”

  1. Aquí says:

    this is such a cool way to compare and contrast these films! I have to confess, I’ve never seen any of them! I guess I better get on it!

  2. I’ve never seen or read Emma but I’ve definitely been curious. I think I’ll take your suggestions and Netflix a few…maybe not the one with Gweneth Paltrow since you seem to despise it so much!! Hehehehe. =P

  3. Claudia says:

    Oh, I do like the Gwyneth one, and probably Jeremy Northam has a lot to do with it. I haven’t seen the other two, though, I should check them out. I’m pretty sure I’ll agree with you, though, Clueless all the way!

  4. I choose the Paltrow version simply because Jeremy Northam is the best Mr. Knightley. The other two don’t even come close to how I picture Mr. Knightley. I think Romola would have been my favorite Emma but something about that entire adaptation left me cold.

    I just watched Clueless for the first time about a year ago (where have I been?!) and loved it.

  5. heidi says:

    i loved the version with gwenyth paltrow when i saw it on my cable company’s free movie channel, but now i think i need to check out one of these other versions! i didn’t really care for toni collette either. are the other adaptations available anywhere?

    • Salazar says:

      I know there are at least 2 more, one in 1948 and one in 1972, but I haven’t seen either of them. And apparently there is a Bollywood version (called “Aisha”) as well! Considering that their version of “Pride & Prejudice” is not half-bad, I’m a bit curious to check that one out…

  6. […] “The Three Emma’s.” I’ve had thoughts about those movies circling my head for quite some time, and I was just happy that I was able to write it down in a clear, concise way (if a little opinionated. But where would us bloggers be without our opinions?) […]


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