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kenmorefield

Emma.

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I was not pleased

I spend some time in my review speculating whether or not having an academic specialty makes me a more or less desirable viewer. Turns out less. But positive takes on RT aside, I'm reluctant to just dismiss my own reaction as an academic "get-off-my-lawn." 

Perhaps my hackles were raised by the trailer, which trumpets a "new vision" over angry string music. Huh? I would like to think that I'd have room for a vision that was not my own if it was a genuine new vision...but I could not really what exactly was new in the vision beyond some art design. 

I defended Jojo Rabbit from those who complained about tonal shifts. This is the movie where I think every other character is pulling in a different direction, channeling something different. 

I prefer the McGrath/Paltrow version, but I *understand* the Beckinsale version. I see what they/it are going for. De Wilde? Not so much. I mean, sure this is absolutely the adaption for people who think what Emma really needs is a shot of Mr. Knightley's naked backside. (Perhaps in that scene they are making a nod to A&E's young-Colin-Firth-post-swim, but...Knightley is not Darcy and Darcy is not Knightley. 

Even after the fact, I kept trying to convince myself that I was in the minority and that I must have missed something. Then I read de Wilde's explanation for why there is a period in the title and thought, no, maybe the movie just is trying to be different rather than new. "Vision" is an advertisers word to be sure, but what's the point of re-making Emma unless you have a vision for this material?

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I expected that you wouldn't care for this movie, for the reasons you describe. And I agree with you to some extent. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Emma. very much for what it was. I think I said on Twitter something to the effect that this could be partly because I don't have as much invested in the original. (I'm quite capable of destroying medievalist screen interpretations that don't meet my expectations.) For me, the art design (costumes, sets, both indoor and out) alone give the film a high rating, but I also appreciated the acting, and if the comedy was emphasized over the social satire, it worked for me. In those areas, I agree with the review by Sheila O'Malley at rogerebert.com:

Quote

Autumn de Wilde’s approach to this tale of frenzied and complicated social activity is both elegant and comedic. Charm is one of the hardest qualities to capture (or even explain), and there is genuine charm here. The performances are uniformly excellent, each actor bringing depth and shading to their characters (even the hovering footmen, who never say a word, clearly have opinions about the people they serve. Watch the behavior in the background of scenes!) Jokes set up in the beginning of the film (like the schtick with the fire screen, for example) pay off big in the final scene. This kind of thing takes real care, a sensitive and pointed accumulation of details which add up to the unmistakable sensation that those palatial estates are inhabited by living breathing eccentric people. 

EMMA. costumes (just based on the trailer).

There's a point to undressing Knightley.

I hope we can still be friends, Ken.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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15 minutes ago, BethR said:

I hope we can still be friends, Ken.

Ha!  Ditto.  After finishing my own review (I'll post it tomorrow), my burning desire was to immediately come over here and see the other responses.  As someone who has never finished a Jane Austen novel, I have no idea of what fidelity to the source would look like, but I smiled more during this film than any other so far this year, and I found the emotions and moments of catharsis in the latter half quite authentic.  I'm impressed that de Wilde (in her feature directing debut) could elicit such individualized and subtle performances from such a large cast of major characters.  Likewise, I thought the music was the best I've heard at the movies in 2020 (those Waller-Bridge sisters are talented as hell).  


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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Tom and Lorenzo further analyze the film’s use of color, costumes, and sets.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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