Saturday, 25 October 2014

Emma (2009) - A Review

How does one even begin such a monumental task as listing all the things I love about this adaption?
Well...better start at one end.

A thing I always feel is very important when a book is adapted is that the film remain faithful to the content and tone of the book. This is definitely a thing this adaption does. It manages to show all the plot points and most of the conversation from the book (and the dialogue is very true to the one in the book). There is time to show it all without rushing it at all, but at the same time without the viewers getting bored.

Another very important thing is the characters. The casting and the portrayal is essential, and I think they have done a marvelous job at that.
Firstly, the casting is brilliant.
Secondly, the actors are brilliant in their portrayals.

I admit the first time I watched it I had to get used to Romola Garai's portrayal of Emma, but now I simply love it. At first she acts very energetic and at times seems immature, but I think it greatly underlines how much she matures during the film. She also brings a playfulness to the part that is very enjoyable.


I think Johnny Lee Millers portrayal of Mr Knightley is just perfection. He is my favourite Knightley ever and really brings all the characters lovely sides forward. I especially love his dynamic with Emma and their little banters. Let's just say this film brought my love for this character to a new level.

As for all the supporting characters I generally enjoy watching them. I love the sweetness of Jane Fairfax and how she is just the sort of person everybody would love.

I really enjoy the role of Mr Woodhouse - especially when they add all the motivation he could have to act the way he does - it makes him a more real character. Where in the book he is more shown as an old man focused on his health and trying to make others follow his advice, here he is shown as a man who knows the pain of loss and therefore tries to protect himself and his loved ones from anything causing illness and death.

Harriet, I think, is made very true to the book. How she at first blindly follow Emma's every opinion but is humble about he own status until she grows to being quite conceited and shocking Emma with her behaviour. Still, she remains a sweet girl and I just think the actress really brings forward everything that Harriet is.

Did I mention I also love the portrayal of Frank Churchill? The way he is shown as a cheerful young man, with quite some mood swings, who everybody loves and nobody really counts as a villain (which he is not at all compared to some of Austen's other villains).

One character I immensely enjoy in this particular film is Miss Bates. While she is still shown as cheerful and a little ridiculous, in this version we get to see behind her facade and realise she is quite aware of her sad situation, but still tryes to keep her spirits up both for herself and her mother. I think that was a very touching moment and it made me understand and like her much better.

Then, of course, there is The Eltons. I love them (and by that I mean I hate them. But that is what I was supposed to, so the actors have greatly fulfilled their job).

Now, that was the acting.
Another thing I that truly sets this version apart from everything else is the storytelling. The little prologue where all the treads is collected and shown, regarding Emma, Jane and Frank is simply brilliant. It quickly shows a connection only hinted at in the book and which I had never thought about before watching this. 
In general the screenwriters have been marvellous at seeing little hints and connections in the book and bringing them forward and making them an important part of the story (for instance how Emma has never left Highbury).


Now, on to another important subject.
What is the most important thing in a period drama except for the story and the acting?
You guessed correct...the costumes.
The costumes are so gorgeous! Emma Woodhouse's wardrobe in this film is one of my favourite in all period dramas. Every time I re-watch it I am reminded of even more dresses to add to my list of favourites. 


There's just one more thing I need to gush over and that is the music. The music is so lovely and brilliantly underlines the moods and emotions in the different scenes. And the dance music at the ball is just such catchy tunes. My all over favourite must be The Last Dance. 
But I like to just listen to a playlist with all the music on repeat. It is very soothing.  

Now I think, there should be no one out there doubting why this is my favourite version of Emma.
It is just brilliant all over, and is one of the few period dramas I can just watch over and over again.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Discovering Emma Week - Tag

Heidi at Along the Brandywine is having an Emma themed blog party this week, and who am I to resist anything Austen related. 


She has already published a lot of exciting posts about the book and different adaptions, so if you like Emma be sure to check it out.

Here are my answers to the tag:

1. Have you ever read Emma?

Yes I have, 5 or 6 years ago. The book didn't really catch me back then but I still loved the story.

2. If so, is that how you first made her acquaintance? (If not, feel free to elaborate!) 

My first encounter with Emma was the 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow film, which I dearly loved. The story and the time period was fascinating and it was so funny. (I think that's part of the reason I didn't like the book as much when I read it - it wasn't nearly as funny as I expected)

3. Do you have a favorite film adaptation? 

The 2009 version is the best one ever!!! I could go on for hours about the perfections of this film - but I won't do it now for I am doing a review post on it later this week. 

4. Favorite dress(es) from that film?

These are some of my favourites, though when I looked for for the pictures I found at least 5 new favourites, but for the sake of keeping this post short(ish) I'll keep at at these two.

5. Share a line you love from either the book or movie/s—several if you like!

"There is but one married woman in the world whom I can ever allow to invite what guests she pleases to Donvell, and that one is...Mrs. Knightley, and till she is in being, I will manage such matters myself."

"I examined my own heart and there you were never, I fear, to be removed"

6. Is Emma one of your favorite heroines? Why or why not?

 I think I have a rather neutral relationship to her. I do not dislike her for it is obvious she has a good heart and the best intentions, but neither is she one of my favourite heroines.

7. What is one of Emma’s strengths (good qualities)?

I like the fact that she is really concerned for the well being of others. She does a lot for the poor in the parish and truly wants her friends to be happy. Though her approach to securing their happiness can be discussed it is obvious that she means well.

8. Describe in one (or two…or three) sentences, why Mr. Knightley is so wonderful.

He is all that is gentlemanly and good.
There...managed it in only one sentence.

9. Why do you think Mr. Knightley and Emma are so well suited to each other?

 First of all they know each other through and through - the good sides and the bad sides - and love each other anyway. Also they have a good and honest communication, which is quite essential in a relationship. 

10. Would you rather spend a week in Highbury with the Westons—on Abbey-Mill Farm with the Martins—or in London with the John Knightleys?

Well, that needed a little thought....
I choose Highbury with the Westons. I would get to see Highbury, live in a country mansion and they seem like very nice people (that they have a baby girl I would get to meet is just a bonus).

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Joy of Classical Music

The autumn season has come... which for me means that my piano lessons are starting again.
That in turn means, my yearly ritual of browsing through every piece of classical music I have ever known in the search of something new to play, is starting all over again.

It may not sound as something very difficult, but finding a piece of music is the least of the work. When that is done I have to search everywhere for the sheet music, and then also finding sheet music that is neither way too easy or so hard that I give up in advance just by looking at it.

So yes, it is anticipated and feared every time.
But as it happens every year I finally succeeded in finding something.
This season I will be playing the piece "Anitra's Dance" from the famous Peer Gynt suite by Edvard Grieg.   

It is not the most well known music from that composer - I think the piece "Morning Mood" is the one most people know. But I am rather fond of this one, it is so happy and lively, and it just makes you wanna start dancing (it is a dance after all).

So that will probably be the extent of my musical progression the next couple of months. (besides the occasional musical numbers I always manage to sneak in, before and after practice)

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