Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Emma, Episode 4 (Final)

Last night we watched the (sadly) last episode of BBC's new "Emma"! I think I have been spoiled by "Little Dorrit" and "Bleak House"-- 4 episodes just didn't seem enough. ;-)

But first things first: my thoughts on Episode 4.

(contains spoilers! Don't read if you don't know the story already!)

Very well done; Box Hill, the conflict between Jane and Emma, the conflict between Harriet and Emma, and the proposal were all very well done. It really had a very tense climax in that Box Hill scene-- it showed Emma at the peak of her immaturity, vanity, and carelessness of the feelings of others; and of her sudden crash as she realized how very wrong she was, after Mr. Knightly rebuked her. "Well done, very well done indeed!" ;-)

Emma's making fun of Miss Bates was better done than any I've seen yet. It took me a while to figure out, in the other versions, what was so bad about what Emma said. This made it very clear that she was being incredibly rude and thoughtless.

When everything begins to become clear about Frank and Jane, and Harriet's feelings for Mr. Knightly, there are lots of flashbacks which are fun and also helpful so that you can remember the things that happened earlier and think, "Oh yeah! I guess so! How could Emma not have noticed that?"

A couple things about Episode 4, though, that I didn't like. The most terrible was that in the Box Hill scene, when Frank and Emma are flirting, he lays his head in her lap in front of everyone! TERRIBLY inappropriate for that era (in any era for that matter!) and in that setting, considering that they weren't married, much less engaged! (I'm not the slapping kind, but if a guy tried that on me, he might end up with a red mark on his face and a sore neck!) However, it did show, in a modern way, I guess, Frank's terrible immaturity, and Emma's condoning of it, and why Jane would feel so hurt and angry towards them both.

As I said, the proposal was good; however, I personally am not crazy about people kissing or leaning on each other's shoulders. Strange that I'm not, being such a romantic, but being a romantic doesn't mean I'm touchy! That was just a matter of taste though.

The ending was somewhat rushed; when Harriet and Mr. Martin get married, a person who didn't know the story might wonder, "What in the world happened?" and would not get an explanation. Of course, with a BBC television show meant to stay within the confines of an hour per episode, it could be that they were running out of time.

View Episode 4 at Tudorphiles.

Now for an overall review of the whole show:

Excellent excellent excellent! It included the things in the book that the other movie adaptions left out, had the "sparkle" of Mirimax's "Emma" though it was closer to the book and had it's own interpretation of some things...

When we finished the movie, I was really in the mood for spiritual application. Jane Austen really had a way of working in the matters of the heart and the importance of godly living in her stories. This "Emma", developing Emma's bad character and her realization of it and her change, was very good, and made me think: Am I, like Emma, full of myself? Vain? Prideful? Immature? Inconsiderate of other's feelings and needs? Impatient? Or do I allow the Spirit of Christ to control me and influence what I do? Do I truly desire others' good? Am I kind? Do I use what influence I have to help others do right? Am I bold to speak up, like Mr. Knightly? Life isn't about us-- it is about loving God and loving others. Sometimes we must fall hard after a major mistake, like Emma, but God uses those falls to make us dependent on Him and moldable in His hands.

My thoughts on all the main characters:

EMMA: Wonderful! A little modern, but I actually liked it. She was funny, interesting, spirited, and very real.
MR. KNIGHTLY: *faints away* SO THE BEST KNIGHTLY EVER!!! Jonny Lee Miller was wonderful as Mr. Knightly. I'm quite carried away. :-)
MR. WOODHOUSE: I love Sir Michael Gambon in all the roles I've seen him in, and he made a very lovable Mr. Woodhouse! A little off from the book, but not too much.
ANNA TAYLOR WESTON: She seemed quite young, but actually the actress's age is about right! I thought she was a good Mrs. Weston.
MR. WESTON: I think he was the best yet. He just.. was... Mr. Weston! I liked him a lot.
FRANK CHURCHILL: Again, the best yet. Not so ... blaagh... as the other ones, but terribly annoying as the story moves along (as he's supposed to be!) Good choice on the casting.
MISS BATES: She was... okay. An interesting take on her character, definitely! Not quite talkative enough, and a little tragic... but she was okay.
MRS. BATES: Again, an interesting and somewhat tragic take. Especially how she begins to talk at the end of the movie!
JANE FAIRFAX: She was wonderful! Not so dull and depressing as the A&E one. I think she was more right-on with the book. I liked how she was more spirited, and I also like how it showed her being trodden down by Frank and Emma, and how they are reconciled in the end.
MR. ELTON: Hilarious! Almost every line of his made us laugh! :-)
MRS. ELTON: The best yet. A much better age, and much more accurate to the book's description. I love how she takes charge of everything and thinks herself so great. :-)
JOHN KNIGHTLY: Perfectly irritable. :-)
ISABELLA KNIGHTLY: She doesn't have too much personality but I thought she was well-done anyway.

Did I get them all? Let me know if I missed someone and I'll edit the post. ;-)

View the trailer here.


Marianne Dashwood said...

You know, sister dear, Isabella doesn't have much character in the book either - I thought she was quite well done. :)

I LOVE THIS ADAPTATION!!! :D :D :D Even with the modern elements. At first, when I heard that Sandy Welch had modernized the story a little, I was skeptical; but then I decided to just watch and enjoy, and - did I watch and enjoy!! :)

Elinor Dashwood said...

Oh yes, I know, about Isabella... I wasn't meaning it to sound like a slight on the movie makers' part; she just isn't an outstanding character even in the book. Sorry about that... :-P

the W. family said...

I really liked your review, especially the personal application part! I thought this was a good adaptation too, although sometimes I did get a little tired of Emma's not-so-lady-like manners. But overall, it was very good!

Alyssa (from the S&S message board)

Leah said...

Have you already seen Little Dorritt?!!! I LOVE THAT MOVIE!!!!!

Elinor Dashwood said...

Yes, we just watched it for the first time the other week!! It was WONDERFUL!! :-D

Sarah Jane said...

I LOVE Little Dorrit, it is one of my favorite movies! :)

Thank you so much for your review of this new version of Emma. We have yet to see it, but I can't wait and I think even my hubby (who normally does not really like Austen movies) will like this one. I am in the mood to go reread the novel now! I can't wait to see it!

Gabrielle Renee said...

I really like your reviews!! Now I know what to expect! I hope I can watch this Friday night!! Oh, and I loved your personal application too. I tend to do that after every Jane Austen/Elizabeth Gaskel. That is why I am not a big fan of Mr. Darcy. :P I find myself to much like him... I can not wait to watch it!!


Rebekah said...


My name is Rebekah - I'm on the S&S forum as The Lord's Daughter. I love your blog!!

I thought your review of "Emma" was great! I enjoyed the movie too! Have you seen the 1980's version of "Emma"? In many ways it is far inferior to all the others but it is fun to watch sometimes! :)

To the KING be all the glory!

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Elinor Dashwood said...

Hi Rebekah! It was great to see you on here! :-D

I've heard of the 1980's "Emma" but haven't watched it. I'm not big on some of those old BBC Jane Austen adaptions (due to the poor acting, screenplay, etc.) so I haven't attempted "Emma" yet...Some day I might, perhaps. :-)

Thank you for the comment! And for the verse you included at the end... A reminder I need frequently!


Christiana said...

Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the link to the new BBC Emma. Me and my sister have loved watching them, and liked being able to read your view to each part!! btw: I totaly agree with you about the "Box Hill" scene, Loved all your coments:)
Keep posting:)

Serena said...

I came to look at your lovely spencer and then wanted to comment on this!

I think your review is excellent, and I agree completely! After watching this new version I re-read the book for the first time in years and I realized that I'd never gotten how immature Emma is from it before, and had never seen that in the movies. Mr. Knightley I expected nothing from, because of the actor, and I was so pleasantly surprised! And when Frank leans his head on Emma's lap I don't think I could have been more embarrassed if it had been my lap he was leaning on. I was absolutely mortified by Emma and Frank's behavior! There were a few other things I was going to say, but the kiddos are needing attention. Sorry if this is disjointed and unclear!

QueenOrual from S&S Board

Elinor Dashwood said...

You are welcome for the link! :-)

I enjoyed reading your thoughts!! :-D They were not disjointed or unclear, I thought. :-) I really want to read the book again too! :-)