It has a wide range of admirers, too. I know several people who prefer the 2005 version of P&P (cough, COUGH) who have a very proper appreciation for Emma 2009. And I've never yet met a Janeite who doesn't hold 2009 as her favorite, having given it a fair chance. Even random people who are not very accustomed to period drama can even enjoy it a lot.
Anyways. Went off on a bit of a rabbit trail there--what I was going to say is: Pride and Prejudice (1995) is my favorite JA movie, and I don't even call that perfect, yet I'd say it's more accurate to its novel and JA and the Regency period than Emma is. It's really rather amusing how much Emma09 can get away with, and its admirers still love it to pieces.
Such as what? Allow me to tell you what, in my opinion, are The Problems With Emma 2009. All the ones I can think of right now, that is. And be forewarned that I'll also go into Auto Defense Mode, which clicks on when anything or anybody I love is criticized, and start explaining why it is that I put up with them all. ;)
- It's just a little too modern. Starting with the opening. What is up with all the weird capital letters where they shouldn't be and lowercase where they should? Sorry, that just isn't Jane Austen, peoples, besides for it just being something that irks me. Yet I can somehow never feel actually disgusted with it, even though it is annoying. The beginning is so FUN even if it isn't period authentic or grammatically correct. (Or would that be capitalization-ally correct? :P Actually, I think there is a word for what I want to say but it isn't coming to me, and probably when Amy comments she will tell me what it is. Haha.)
- And then there is the rest of what I mean by it being too modern... they actually designed the body language, etc. to be for a modern audience, and this definitely does show... but despite that, and despite the brighter colors and such that don't give it the old-England feel that some adaptations do, it still seems old-fashioned... or at least not-modern. I'm still satisfied. And I still say that the Gwyneth Paltrow version is much more modern.
- People complain about Emma herself acting too immature... I think this ties in with the above. They were trying to make it so a modern audience could connect... and I don't really condone that. But I still think it was borderline acceptable, haha. Plus it gives more of a chance to show how she matures during the story, because by the end you can see a visible difference--she acts much more grown-up and graceful. And even at the beginning, she still acted more that way when in company. It was in her own home and around people she'd known all her life (like Mr. Knightley) that she was less particular. And I don't mind her being bubbly and animated--I think it goes very well with Emma. Besides, the facial expressions are just too hilarious to want to miss, and if you tell me they are overdone, I will just have to disagree with you.
- And in keeping with that general theme, there are a few historical inaccuracies... but they are usually for the sake of the story, not because they didn't care about being accurate. One that comes to mind is when Harriet is at Hartfield for dinner the first time, and Emma is silently teaching her not to tuck her napkin into her dress (she's copying Mr. Knightley) but to put it on her lap, and that when you're eating soup, rather than scooping towards yourself as if you're shoveling, you should tilt the spoon away from yourself
so that if your hand slips you can fling soup on the person sitting across from you instead of splattering all over your new evening gown. Harriet would already have known these sorts of things--proper etiquette and manners would have been taught at the boarding school. But... it's just a hilarious scene.
- Which brings me to the subject of Harriet In General. (My, this is all tying together nicely, isn't it?) She's just too... stupid. What other word is there. Also silly, perhaps, but yes, stupid. Empty of Head. ;) She's never supposed to be the brightest crayon in the box, but they went a bit overboard, I think, trying to get that point across. Especially in the scene pictured above. But again... that scene is hilaaarious. "Courtship, Harriet! See, here, and... and here." And overall, I still think she's the best Harriet, too.
- That's not tying in nicely with anything else, so let's just go now and talk about my Favorite Part Of The Movie. The baaaaall scene. *pauses for a moment to indulge in a happy sigh* The whole of the ball is delightful, but my favorite scene is the one where Emma And Mr. Knightley Dance. It is the cutest, sweetest, most delightful, most romantical... I tell you, I could write an entire post gushing and squealing about why I love it so much and I'm not usually one prone to Fangirling. (As Some Of You may know, cough.) Buuuuut, there was one teeny, weeny problem, and that is that they had to go and exclude what is one of my very favorite quotes in the book. (Just go read the last few paragraphs of chapter 38.) *narrows eyes and growls* In fact the first time I ever saw this version, I was sitting there just WAITING for the quote, and it didn't happen and I was like, but, but but... no... wait... However, the following scene is so perfect that I cannot but say it makes up for it. Especially if you've been watching the whole movie. It's lovely by itself, but if you're "into" the store it's all the better. :D
- Now let's take this random moment to talk about Jane. This Miss Fairfax is not my favorite. The closest to my idea of what she should be in the book was in the A&E Emma. Laura Pyper just didn't cut it for me... her looks were wrong; her figure somehow wasn't graceful or... I dunno... willowy enough, haha, and then her voice too is not at all what I would imagine when reading the book. I guess I only mention this because it's pretty much the only character in the movie who isn't my favorite representation. (Okay, Frank and Miss Bates sort of tie with a couple others for me, for rather different reasons, but I thought they played their characters to full potential in this one, and I didn't have any problem with their being selected, whereas neither is true for Laura Pyper.) That said, though, she was still fine, and not unfaithful to the character. She never made me mad. ;)
- And since we're talking about Jane, let's give Frank a turn, because I have a couple bones to pick about him although they aren't in his acting, they're in the script. And this is rather an example of several similar things--they do throw extra random stuff they made up into the story here and there, like Emma and Harriet happening upon Frank before he actually comes to visit, as though he'd come very close to doing so and then turned back. And it was never really fully explained, besides what he said to Emma, but as we know, Frank isn't very honest. (Or frank. :P) Maybe he was deliberating because he thought it would be too obvious if he showed up right after Jane did? Anyway, it made for a funny scene later, I have to say. "I have heard so much about you, it is almost as if we had already met!" Once again I forgive Sandy Welch (the scriptwriter), because it's not unfaithful to Jane Austen's Emma even if it isn't exactly what was in the book.
- But then there's this. AHEM. It's one thing I have without anything to say in its defense. Frank would never have put his head on Emma's lap, can I hear it for HISTORICAL INACCURACY, that would be VERY inappropriate?? Emma would never have permitted it, either. People wouldn't have behaved in that fashion, even as a joke. And besides all that, it pretty much makes me hate Frank altogether and he's always nowhere near my favorite character, haha.
- Aaaand something the last one brought to mind... the Box Hill Scolding Scene. Mr. Knightley wasn't quite right. This is the only time in the entire thing I can say that, because I think Jonny Lee Miller's portrayal is pretty much perfect. But in the book this scene is so very touching... you really get the feeling that Mr. Knightley is feeling disappointed in Emma and fearing for Frank's influence on her, and truly wanting to help her as a friend, in addition to being somewhat angry on behalf of Miss Bates. In this scene, it was mostly just Mr. Knightley Come in a Huff to Tell Emma Off rather than, like in the book, explaining to her what she did wrong and why and it may perhaps be a bit heated, but it really ended quite tenderly and it makes you feel sorry for Emma and Mr. Knightley and Miss Bates all at the same time. And also increases your admiration for Mr. Knightley. ;) Also, Emma is supposed to turn around after a while so that Mr. Knightley can't see the emotions she's going through (and if he did he might know that he'd already succeeded, haha)
- And lastly, most of the book-to-screen dialogue is not as accurate in a lot of spots as I would like. Which is another one of those funny things... somehow they manage to do this without it feeling inaccurate and you can say "oh yeah, this is a really good representation of the book!" I don't know how. But they do.
And now we come to the conclusion of my rambling. (And I am putting a picture of the conclusion of the movie. Because it's the best. I think my favorite period drama ending evah. :D) So anyways... despite everything, it's one of my favorite Jane Austen movies, almost tied for #1, and I never seem to get tired of watching it. (I've seen it thirteen times, folks. Cough. And 1/4. :P) It can just get away with anything... and if I was going to write a post like this only discussing what I adore about the movie... heh, if you think this is long, that would be reeeeeeeally long. It would probably have to turn into a series.