Book Review: Emma

I think Emma has possibly maybe taken over as my favorite Austen story. The 1996 film adaptation with Gwyneth Paltrow was my first exposure, and I enjoyed it, but then I saw the 2009 BBC mini-series version and I fell completely in love with it! Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller were truly perfection in it. And then with Emma Approved coming out this year, I decided my Austen read for the year needed to be Emma. And though as the longest of Austen’s works it did start to eventually wear on me and feel a little too long, overall it was still the most enjoyable experience I have had so far reading an Austen novel.

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Emma is not the most likable character (though more likable than I think some people have made her out to be… mostly she’s just young and naive), and I don’t relate to her as well as Lizzie. I find all the interactions with her friends and family to be the most interesting out of any Austen story I’ve read, however, and there is just something so sweet about the Knightley and Emma romance. He has known her for her entire life and he knows her faults extremely well, and he’s not afraid to point them out to her. And yet, he loves her deeply. And for her the revelation that she loves him is, “Of course!” It makes sense.

emma-knightley2I also love how many quirky characters are in the story, like Mr. Woodhouse, Miss Bates, and Harriet Smith. They are far from the air of perfection certain characters (the Eltons and Frank Churchill, namely) try to give off. Harriet is a nobody with very little in the way of social graces, but she is kind and loyal. Much can be the same as Miss Bates, though she is less charming and more chatty. Mr. Woodhouse is well-meaning and loves his daughter with great devotion, but is an extreme worrier and germaphobe who is basically afraid to live any life outside of his house. But we see just as many flaws in the characters that supposedly have it all together, including Emma. And I like that about the story.

emma-approved-harrietIf you enjoy the story from its various adaptations, I think you’ll enjoy the book. It might get a little tedious, and Austen’s writing is not the easiest to read in general, but I think it’s worth the journey.

4stars2Have you read Emma? What are your thoughts? Which Emma adaptation is your favorite?

 

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Favorite Christmas Scenes in Non-Christmas Movies

Recently I talked about my struggle with Christmas movies, but how there are some “Christmas” movies I enjoy that take place during the holidays, but aren’t really Christmas movies, since they really take place over a much larger portion of time. Here are four movies with Christmas scenes I really enjoy…

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping is, for me, the standard for all chick flicks, which means I’m not generally a fan of chick flicks, because this one is just so much better! For the uninitiated, due to a misunderstanding, Lucy (played by Sandra Bullock) finds herself being accepted into the family as the fiance of the man whose life she saved but is asleep in a coma. This happens on Christmas and she ends up spending the holidays with them. I love this scene especially where the family has this funny conversation at dinner that is quirky, yet also feels like it could happen around a number of dinner tables.

Little Women

You all know my love for Little Women, and Christmas comes up a few times throughout the movie. I particularly like the Christmas scene when the girls’ father comes home from the war, but this is also a nice scene where Beth gets a piano for Christmas. Times have been tough for the March family during the war, as we see from the first few minutes of the movie, but Beth is not one to complain. She’s been sick and so when the March family’s next door neighbor, Mr. Lawrence, gives her this piano, it’s just a sweet moment.

Catch Me If You Can

Christmas also plays a fairly significant role in the movie Catch Me If You Can, as Frank Abagnale always seems to talking Hanratty, the FBI agent pursuing him, on Christmas day. (Side note: this is just a motif for the movie and not part of the real life story, but it’s one I enjoy.) This scene in particular is a stand-out for me because every time I hear this song, I think of Frank in the snow, outside his mother’s house.

Emma

Out of all these movies, Christmas plays the least significant role in Emma, but I enjoy the scene of Emma and her friends and family at a Christmas party. She tries to listen in on a story about the mysterious Frank Churchill, but is constantly being interrupted by Mr. Elton. Then after the party, we have this fateful scene of Mr. Elton confessing his love for Emma and her rejecting him. By the way, do you think Senator Elton on Emma Approved will make known his feelings towards Emma during a Christmas party?

What’s your favorite Christmas scene from a non-Christmas movie?

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Emma: An Awesome Adaptation Featuring A Love Triangle

Awesome Adaptations is hosted by Picture Me Reading, and is a focus on book-to-movie adaptations that we think are awesome!

How appropriate that the same month that A Novel Idea is hosting their Love Triangles 101 event (which I participated in), that this topic would come up! Instead of focusing on a modern-day story, however, I thought I ought to pay homage to The Original Queen of Love Triangles (this is not official, but I thought it sounded good) Jane Austen, and of her most convoluted triangley stories, Emma.

bool-movie-emmaI have mentioned many times before how much I really love the 2009 BBC mini-series of Emma (it’s over three hours long and filled with so much goodness!). Though I have not read the book yet, every actor/actress in this adaptation just seem to hit their character so spot-on. They feel like real people and I really come to care for several of them (the ones you’re supposed to care for… Mr. Elton… not so much).

Just so you can see just how much love triangleness is going on Emma, I stole a chart from Diana Peterfreund’s website (apparently she thinks about Jane Austen’s stories even more than I do) and doctored it up with pictures:

emmadiagram-editI have to imagine if you have never seen the movie or read the book, this must be seriously hard to follow. But basically, everyone gets crushed on at some point and everyone crushes on someone at one point; sometimes it’s clear, sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes it’s a rumor, and sometimes they change their mind! It honestly feels like real life though (sometimes uncomfortably so), but it is so much more fun to watch it happen to these people in old timey England than it is for it to happen to you.

If you haven’t checked out this version of Emma and enjoyed Jane Austen’s stories, I would HIGHLY recommend it! The fact that it was able to push the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie from the top spot of my favorite Jane Austen movie adaptations is a seriously huge deal and just shows how awesome it is. (Side note: I loved the 2005 P&P so much I used one of the tracks from the movie as the song I walked down the aisle to in my wedding, so yeah, I seriously love it.)

What do you think is an awesome adaptation that features love triangles? (I’ll give you a hint, the answer isn’t Twilight.)