October 25, 2014


Wow. My FIRST Period Drama review!! To anyone reading this blog it wouldn't seem as if I were a huge period drama fan, but I am. A VERY big fan. I have no idea why that hasn't transferred to my blog a little more than it has! :)
So, in participation of Heidi's Discovering Emma Blog Party, I am reviewing my favorite Emma adaption, the lovely 1996 version starring Gywneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam.
I'm not going to go over the story, as I assume anyone reading this has read, seen, or at least heard of Emma. If you haven't, you should read the book. Or check out Heidi's posts for more info on Emma.
Oh, and there are spoilers. So be warned.

Anyways, I think the fans of the 1996 version are in the minority (the more popular version being the 2009 Romola Garai and Johny Lee Miller adaption), and while I see some things that could have been better in this version, I think overall it's such a sweet, bright, and accurate portrayal of Emma.

Gywneth Paltrow is a lovely Emma. She's funny and stubborn and scheming, all while being perfectly polite, gracious, and genteel, as her character is. The one thing I remember disliking about Romola Garai's Emma is that her posture and mannerisms were slightly unladylike at times, which is not found in this Emma. She always acts with dignity and her voice is so polished. She is how I would imagine Emma to be, since she's in a high social distinction and all.

Many of her dresses are very pretty, my favorite being the aqua one pictured on the left. I don't particularly care for how high the empire waists on (most) of her dresses are though-it looks almost awkward on her at times! Her hair is sometimes very pretty, but I'm NOT a fan of her tightly pulled back styles. Soft, looser styles look better on her. Thankfully she has a few styles like that in the movie!

Ah, Mr. Knightley. Jeremy Northam is VERY close to how I saw Mr. Knightley when reading the book and his acting as polite, caring, gentlemanly Mr. Knightley is just the best.
Mr. Knightley is definitely one of my favorite Austen heroes and I love him in this film. He's funny, he's caring, he's forever the gentleman and when he scolds Emma on Box Hill-oh, well, wait. I'll get to that soon,. ;)

The point is I love Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley.
Can't imagine anyone else!

Harriet is acted very well in this version, although her looks are nothing as the book describes! She's pretty much the only character (to my recollection) whose looks are described in Emma and yet the film makers paid no attention to that whatsoever. "Let's make blonde Harriet a red head!"
Nevertheless, Harriet is very sweet and gullible and has some VERY funny moments.

"Mr. Elton's eyes were brown!"

That part makes me laugh every time. :)

It's so very irritating how much control Emma holds over her during the beginning of the film. When she encourages her to refuse Mr. Martin, Harriet doesn't think twice about it.
Poor Harriet. And poor Mr. Martin! He seemed like such a nice chap.

I certainly feel sorry for Harriet at the ball. It's simply odious how rudely Mr. Elton snubs her. But never fear! Mr. Knightley saves the day!

It's such a happy scene with Emma smiling joyfully at Mr. Knightley for saving her friend from embarrassment.

I will never be able to describe how Perfect (with a capital P) Miss Bates is in this version. She's silly, she's talkative, she's sweet, she's not very intelligent-she's just perfect. So many of her scenes induce giggles.
"PORK, Mother!"
"ANGEL, Mother!"
"Oh. Napkin, sorry."

And her laugh. Wow. Hahaha.

She's just perfection and I feel soooo bad for her during the Box Hill-
Oh, I might as well get it over with shouldn't I?
All right. Here we go.

The Box-Hill scene was simply superb. I don't think it could have been acted any better!

I feel so bad for Miss Bates during that scene. Her embarrassment and confused hurt is so evident. I feel SO angry with Emma during that scene. I'm like, "Yes, go, Mr. Knightley!" when he scolds her.   The "Badly Done Emma" scene is NOT badly done! It's so perfect especially when Mr. Knightley softly cries in his very disappointed voice, "Badly done, Emma."  It's apparent his disappointment in his friend is stronger than his anger. Then Emma's face crumples-I think partly because Mr. Knightley, whom she looks up to so much, is disappointed in her, but also because she starts to see her mistake.                                              
Mr. Woodhouse was pretty meh throughout the movie. He wasn't as funny as he is in the book (although there was a very funny line he had when Emma was holding her sister's baby) and he didn't add much. He seemed almost too active at times and at the end he responded joyfully to Mr. Knightley and Emma's engagement. What?? He's supposed to not like the idea of Emma leaving! I know it was probably done that way to save time, but I think it does an injustice to his character.

Frank Churchill is played by Ewan MacGregor, whom I first saw in Star Wars as Obi-Wan Kenobi, so that was a pretty funny thing to see. Overall he was fine, nothing exceptional, but not bad either. One thing that annoys me EXCEEDINGLY is that the filmmakers had HIM suggest the "Mabe Mr. Dixon sent Jane the piano!" instead of Emma. They totally flipped a part of the story there and I wasn't happy when I saw that! It seemed ridiculous for Frank to be suggesting it. Emma was and is the one who suggested it as she's the ever curious and scheming one.
And yes, his hair is atrocious. And his singing.

Jane Fairfax wasn't really as I saw her in the book (I love the Olivia Williams portrayal) but her acting was fine and everything. Nothing amazing, though. And she was too modern looking, for my taste.

Mrs. Weston wasn't really as I saw her, but she's definitely my favorite Mrs. Weston out of the three I've seen. She was very good in playing Emma's former governess. You can see in the film what very good friends they are, but also how Emma looks up to her and seeks her advice.
Mr. Weston didn't add much to the story and wasn't at all how I saw him, but he was fine otherwise.
I mean come on, he's the luckiest father in all of England. ;)

Mr. Elton. Mr. E. This guy is hilarious, I've NEVER seen a better Mr. Elton. Every scene with him is so funny and this guy totally wins as Mr. Elton.
"A party is a party...but a Christmas party!"
"Everybody has their level."
"I am an old married man."
"A party is a party... but a party on a summer's eve!"
"I hope I am not intruding."
"I do not seize your hand so much as the opportunity to tell you that I am hoping, no, fearing; ready to die if you refuse me!"

He's just so humorous and annoying and ridiculous.

Mrs. Elton was very funny (snort) and she (snort) was acted very well (snort)-okay, I'll stop! :)
(Do you know what I was referencing? Did you ever pick up on her sniffing/snorting during the dinner scene? It's very funny.)
I think the actress who plays her is a bit old for Mr. Elton, but otherwise she's perfectly vulgar and hilarious.

"You and I must start a musical CLUB!"
"Jane! You're a very VERY fragile creature!"
"I'm a great advocate of timidity."
"Well, well, well, I shall have to do something with Mr E to welcome him, hey, Mr E?"

And I love this quote from Emma concerning Mrs. Elton:

"Is it possible that Mr Elton met her while doing charitable work in a mental infirmary?"

One of my favorite scenes is when Emma is sitting with Mr. Knightley in front the fire. She's holding her sister's baby girl and it's such an adorable scene because, to me, it shows what their life might look like a few years later once their married and have a baby of their own! :) Awww...

Finally, once we get through all the matches Emma set up for Harriet (which all fail, by the way), the time Emma thinks she loves Frank Churchill, and when Mr. Knightley is thought to be in love with Jane, Harriet announces to Emma that she has affections for Mr. Knightley.
And then Emma realizes that a match between her two friends would be the most deplorable thing on earth because,

"I have came to see that I do not admire Mr. Knightley as I so long thought.... I love him. So dearly, so greatly. Outside of you and father, his is the opinion that matters most."

Longing and yet dreading Mr. Knightley's return from his visit to his brother, she hopes and prays he doesn't love Harriet in return and that he may come to love her one day. She realizes all the mistakes she's made and that she doesn't deserve a man as wonderful as him. 

And her prayer comes true!

The proposal scene was very sweet and lovely-despite the fact of their leaving out the famous, "If I loved you any less" line! Not sure WHAT the filmmakers were thinking of there....

But they do show their wedding! 
It's so pretty and charming and I love the flower petals-even if there is a "shocking lack of satin!" :)

All in all, this version of Emma is my very favorite, although there were points I liked in the other two I've seen as well! I'd recommend this to anyone. It's sweet, funny, and has such a lovely fairy tale feel to it. It's a perfect Jane Austen adaption.

October 20, 2014

Emma Tag!

I'm so excited to be participating in the Discovering Emma Week blog party, hosted by Heidi over at Along the Brandywine. Please check out her blog for lots of Emma material-and a giveaway! :)

~ Discovering Emma Week Tag ~

1. Have you ever read Emma?
Yes, I have once. I read it for English Lit last year and LOVED it. I think it was the third Jane Austen book I've read and I was just astounded by Jane Austen's talent. Especially since I actually studied it and didn't just read it, I feel like I understood it a bit better than I would have if I had just read it for pleasure. Because, you know, reading "old" classic books can be a bit hard sometimes because of the language and style-sometimes you have a read a sentence over 3 times before you finally understand what they're saying! :) (But don't take my wrong-I love classic books by authors such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and the like!) Emma completely won me over and now I realize how much I need to read it again!! :)

This is the copy of Emma I own:

2. If so, is that how you first made her acquaintance? (If not, feel free to elaborate!) 
Yes, I made myself completely finish Emma before watching any of the film adaptions. Huh. That's funny. I think I've said on my blog here that Mansfield Park was the first Austen book I've read before watching the film, but I just realized that isn't true-Emma was! :) I guess I have short term memory loss or something...

3. Do you have a favorite film adaptation? 
Yes, I adore the 1996 version with Gywneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. I know many people prefer the 2009 adaption but I didn't care for it as much. I didn't dislike it, I just liked the 1996 version better. To me, it is a (near) perfect portrayal of the characters and of Hertfordshire. My favorite character portrayals are Emma, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Elton, and Miss Bates. Miss Bates is PERFECTION in this version! :)

4. Favorite dress(es) from that film?
My favorite dress Emma wears is the aqua one during the Elton's visit. So pretty! I'd also like to mention that my favorite hairstyle is the one she wears when she is embroidering under the tent with Harriet. Here it is:

5. Share a line you love from either the book or movie/s—several if you like!
Here are a few from the movie that I enjoy!
Mr. Knightley: (after Emma shot an arrow off target) "Try not to kill my dogs"
Mr. Woodhouse :"Emma, be careful-the baby-it might have an infection!"
Emma: "I hate John!" (a few seconds later) "I love John!"
Mrs. Elton: "There is a shocking lack of satin." (pretty much anything she says is hilarious)
And of course, I love this quote from the book:

6. Is Emma one of your favorite heroines? Why or why not?
Mm, I wouldn't say one of my MOST favorite heroines but she's definitely on the list. (I have a lot of favorite heroines. It's very hard to narrow it down!) She has a lot of faults but she learns from her mistakes and tries to be better. When she did make mistakes it was mostly because of her efforts to help people and her inability to see that her "help" will or already did make things worse. 

7. What is one of Emma’s strengths (good qualities)?
Despite her tendency to want the limelight and praise, she really tries to look out for her friends and family. She wants to see them happy! 

8. Describe in one (or two…or three) sentences, why Mr. Knightley is so wonderful.
He's so kind, he's so chivalrous, he has integrity, he's polite, he's caring, he's forgiving, he's patient, he "gives consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men", he will patiently listen to elderly ladies prattle on and will scold younger ladies who are rude to them (BADLY done, Emma!!), he's humorous, he's handsome, he's-shall I stop now? ;)
But in all seriousness, he is truly a gentleman. There are many many many admirable heroes in stories out there, but not many embody a true gentleman like Mr. Knightley does. 

9. Why do you think Mr. Knightley and Emma are so well suited to each other?
They are best of friends and know each others faults and failings, but also their virtues. They've shared many moments of life together and have looked out for each other (and corrected each other, haha) along the way. They have different temperaments and methods of doing things, but make up for in it agreeing on important things.  And they're just adorable!! I can't imagine Emma with anyone else but Mr. Knightley, or Mr. Knightley with anyone but Emma. 

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?
I'd choose Highbury with the Westons-I'd love to explore Emma's town and I'd get a much better chance of meeting Emma and Mr. Knightley if I stayed with the Weston's! Not to mention, they seem very nice people. :) 

Thank you for such a wonderful tag, Heidi! I loved the questions you came up with!

October 12, 2014

Tagged Thrice!

Awhile back, Heidi tagged me with The Sunshine Award! Thank you so much, Heidi! :)

1. If you could time travel, would you rather visit medieval England or 1800’s Paris?
Hmm.....I suppose 1800's Paris, Even though I prefer England. I'm not into the medieval times as much as the 1800's! Plus, two of my favorite musicals are set in 1800's France. Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables!

2. For relaxation: G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, or neither?
I've never read G. K. Chesterton, so I have to say C. S. Lewis!

3. Do you enjoy pie baking? Do you have a favorite kind (apple, cherry, etc.)?
I have never baked a pie. But I would love to learn! I like apple pie,

4. A particular way God has blessed you in the past week?
God has blessed us immensely in our new home! It's a wonderful house near a nice smaller town, and I thank Him sooooo much for getting us to this place in our lives!

5. Something summery and wonderful (i.e. something you did or are planning to do, something you learned, somewhere you’re planning to or have traveled)?
Hahahaha. Well, our move from Florida to Michigan was summery due to it's being summer. I wouldn't exactly call it wonderful though! Except for the end result, of course. ;)

And quite recently, Miss Jane Bennet tagged me with her new Janeite Tag! Thank you, Jane!!
Mrs. Brandon also tagged me with the Janeite Tag so I will be answering her questions as well.

~Tell how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life.
I was introduced to Jane Austen when I was 14 years old. I had heard of Jane Austen and knew my mom had seen some of the movies, so I kept asking her when I would be older enough to watch them! She finally deemed me "ready" at 14 and so we watched Pride and Prejudice 1995 together. I loved it! I immediately read the book afterwards (I know, I know-the movie before the book!! How shocking!), and ever since I've been a fan of Jane Austen. :)
My JA fun fact is that (and I know, this is a really lame fun fact) Mansfield Park is the first JA book I've read BEFORE seeing a movie adaption!

~Do you have a favorite Austen couple?  If so, what do you think their married life would be like?
That's such a hard question! Ummmm.....maybe Darcy and Elizabeth. I think they'd have a wonderful life of strolling the grounds at Pemberly, reading books, visiting Jane and Bingley and making an occasional trip to London or something with Georgianna. :) I think they'd have a son as their first child. 

~Who is your favorite minor character, in any of Miss Austen's books?
I LOVE Margaret Dashwood. She's so adorable and I think she needs her own story. I actually plan on writing a fan fiction about her. Someday. :)

~List 3-7 of your favorite Austen quotes.

"There is no charm equal to the tenderness of heart."

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."

"To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."

~How many JA books do you own?
Five-I own Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park. I also recently got a really cool book with all of the Jane Austen Juvenilia and her unfinished books like Sandition.

~What Austen character do you think you're most like?
I think I'm a mix of Lizzy, Emma, Elinor, and Catherine. Lizzy because I can be witty and lively, Emma because I can be stubborn and I do like to "match make" people in my mind ;), Elinor because I can be quiet and private, and Catherine because I'm imaginative, sometimes to a fault.

~Have you read the Juvenilia?
No, I have not! But as I said above I have it now and can't wait to read it!

~Favorite movie/TV adaptation of an Austen novel?
Well, I'm going to be completely unoriginal and say Pride and Prejudice 1995. Perfection.

Evie's Questions! Thanks so much, Evie!

What is your favourite Jane Austen minor couple?
I'd say Jane and Bingley but they're more than a "minor" couple to me. So next perhaps I'd say Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill. 

Would you rather spend a weekend with Mr Wickham or Mr Willoughby?
What. WHAT.  What kind of question is this?!?!!  Spending the weekend with either one would be terrible...but at least with either of them you could try to teach them the evil of their ways, haha.
I think I'd pick Willoughby...if I HAVE to choose. 

You've been invited to a ball, what is your first reaction?
Squeal and scream and jump up and down and be excessively diverted!!

If you could choose a Jane Austen home to live in what would you choose? Netherfield? Pemberly?
Probably Pemberly. :)

Darcy or Bingley?

Darcy hands down.

Brandon or Ferras?
Oooh....that's hard. I might pick Edward...maybe. I just don't know. I still haven't read S&S so I don't really feel qualified to answer this yet. ;)

Knightley or Captain Wentwoth?
Mr. Knightley all the way.

Which character are you most like?
See above. :)

Unfortunately, I'm going to be breaking the rules and tagging nobody for the Janeite Tag. But I will say that anyone reading this who hasn't been tagged and would like to be...well, consider yourself tagged. :)