When I first heard this was coming out, I thought, “Oh god, we need ANOTHER Emma?” But on the whole, I ended up liking this more than I thought I would! Romola Garai does a good job with the part, Johnny Lee Miller reads as a little young to be Mr. Knightley, but he’s cuter than Mark Strong in the 1996 version. The nicest thing is the story really takes its time, which always makes me happy. The costumes were fine — nothing horrible, nothing to write home about — and seem to almost all have been reworn from earlier Regency film/TV productions. I definitely prefer Olivia Williams’ portrayal of Jane Fairfax in the 1996 BBC version — this one very much brings home how boring she is, which makes her boring to watch!
I like some things about this adaptation, but they come with caveats.
1) It’s long enough to really cover all of the important storylines and flesh out all of the characters fully. Mr. Knightley’s trips to and from London and John Knightley’s second visit to Highbury are nice inclusions. I have grown to appreciate the opening sequence that gives everyone’s background (though it’s all done a bit too Dickensian for my taste) and the nice little epilogue that makes the seaside honeymoon a surprise (though how anyone would see the White Cliffs of Dover and think “I’ll just take a little dip!” is beyond me…)
2) With the exception of leaving out “Brother and sister, no indeed!” the ball at the Crown is pretty much perfection. I never fail to cry during the dance between Emma and Mr. Knightley. The blossoming of their feelings for each other, which they are beginning to recognize but are unsure how to deal with or express, is truly palpable. Both of them expressed so much in that dance without saying a single word.
As for my dislikes…well, I could write my own whole blog post about my dislikes!!