Thursday, November 17, 2011
Emma (1996). Period film based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. Directed by Douglas McGrath. Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette and Ewan McGregor.
When her governess, Miss Taylor, gets married to Mr. Weston, Emma, believes that she brought the couple together. Her father and George Knightley, disapproves of her making any more matches, but she ignores their wishes and begins making plans setting up the minister, Mr. Elton with her close friend Harriett. What she does not know is that Harriet is being courted by a farmer, Robert Martin. When Mr. Martin proposes to Harriet, she wants to accept, but Emma persuades her to reject his proposal.
Mr. Elton has become interested in Emma and gives her a book of riddles written by Harriet. Emma misinterprets this as interest in Harriet, but when Mr. Elton and Emma are alone, he declares his love for Emma and she realizes her mistake. She rejects him and he later marries another woman, who competes with Emma for status in the community.
Emma, hurts Miss Bates feelings during a picnic, after which Mr. Knightley gives Emma a piece of his mind and leaves town. She doesn't realise she loves him until Harriet shows interest in him. When Mr. Knightley returns, he and Emma cross paths and have a conversation that begins awkwardly but ends with him asking her to marry him and her accepting.
The news of their engagement upsets Harriet, who avoids Emma for a while, but returns a few weeks later, engaged to Mr. Martin. The film ends with Emma and Mr. Knightley's wedding.
If you're looking for a film that you can watch with the whole family, or looking for a romance for yourself, Emma is the movie for you. With a beautiful setting, wonderful costumes and an outstanding cast.
Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates, mother and daughter in the film, are played by real-life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson (who are also real-life mother and sister to Academy-Award-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson).
Emma and Mr. Knightley's dance is called "Mr. Beveridge's Maggot" (to the tune of the same name). (A "maggot" is "a whimsical fancy.") This same tune and dance were previously used in Pride and Prejudice for Elizabeth Bennet's dance with Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield Ball.
The yellow embroidered gown Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears to dinner at Hartfield is the same costume worn by Priscilla Morgan (Mrs.Bennet) in Pride and Prejudice, and by Lucy Robinson (Mrs. Elton) at Hartfield in Emma.
The blue striped dress with long sleeves Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma Woodhouse) wears at Hartfield is the same gown worn by a guest at the Towers in the opening scene of Wives and Daughters, and by Mali Harries (Ann Rood) for her wedding in Byron. The same costume is also worn by one of the maids at Chawton Cottage in Miss Austen Regrets, and by Laura Pyper (Jane Fairfax) while reading a letter in Emma.
The blue gown with sheer, white sleeves Polly Walker (Jane Fairfax) wears in the final scene is the same gown Tanya Samuel wears to dinner in The Regency House Party, Abigail Thaw (Jane Osborne) wears to dinner in Vanity Fair, and Amanda Hale (Mary Musgrove) wears at Camden Place in Persuasion.
The dot-patterned beige muslin day dress with puffy sleeves Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears at Randalls is the same costume Joanna David (Mrs. Gardiner) wears at the Inn at Lambton in Pride and Prejudice, Barbara Flynn wears at the Towers in the opening scene of in Wives and Daughters, and Georgia King (Pet Meagles) wears on the ship in Little Dorrit.
The teal velvet bonnet Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears in the final scene is the same one worn by Felicity Dean (Mrs. Clay) to visit Lady Dalrymple in Persuasion, and Emma Pierson (Fanny Dorrit) wears to visit Mrs. Merdles in Little Dorrit.
The tan striped gown with teal scallop trim at the hem Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston) wears in the final scene is the same costume worn by a guest at the Easter Ball in Wives and Daughters, and by Emma Pierson (Fanny Dorrit) to visit Mrs. Merdles in Little Dorrit.
The fuzzy cloak Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma Woodhouse) wears to the Christmas gathering at the Weston's is the same costume Julie Cox (Annabella Milbanke) wears after her wedding in Byron.
The green velvet pelisse Juliet Stevenson (Mrs. Elton) wears to church is the same costume Natasha Little (Augusta Leigh) wears to visit Annabella in Byron.
The teal blue goddess gown Juliet Stevenson (Mrs. Elton) wears to dinner at Hartfield is the same costume Pauline McLynn (Mademoiselle Clairwill) wears to see the play in Quills.
The striped muslin day dress Toni Collette (Harriet Smith) wears reading Mr. Elton's charade is the same costume worn by Helen Fraser (Mrs. Morland) at Fullerton in Northanger Abbey, Kate Ashfield (Ella, the Worrell's maid) in Princess Caraboo, Sophia Myles (Susan Price) at Portsmouth in Mansfield Park, and by Charity Wakefield (Marianne Dashwood) when Edward calls at Mrs. Jennings' London house in Sense & Sensibility.
The gold overdress Juliet Stevenson (Mrs. Elton) wears at the Box Hill picnic is the same costume worn by a guest at the London party where Byron meets Annabella Milbanke in Byron, and by one of the dancers leaving the theatre while Amy waits for Fanny in Little Dorrit.
The red and white muslin gown worn by a wedding guest is the same costume worn by Catherine Walker (Eleanor Tilney) to greet Catherine and Henry when they return from Woodston in Northanger Abbey.
The red plaid Spencer worn by Toni Collette (Harriet Smith) at Ford's in the rain is the same costume worn by an extra in the Highbury Market Day scene in Emma.
Paltrow has performed in many supporting and lead roles in films: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Shallow Hal (2001), and Proof (2005), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in Motion Picture Drama. In 2008, she performed in the highest grossing movie of her career, Iron Man (2008), and then reprised her role as Pepper Potts in its sequel, Iron Man 2 (2010). Paltrow also has been the face of Estée Lauder's Pleasures perfume since 2005. In the same 2011 weekend as winning her Emmy Award she appeared in the film, Contagion.