Ep 3: Reviewing the 2009 Emma adaptation
Updated: Apr 8, 2022
Welcome to the third episode of the What the Austen? podcast! I'm your host Izzy, and I am joined by my friend and fellow Janeite Louise from @mrsesluxuries. In this episode, we will be taking a slightly different approach to the first 2 episodes, and we will be looking more closely at the screen. Myself and Louise will discuss the BBC’s 2009 adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. Exploring how the mini-series showcases the memorable scenes such as the proposal, how the actors portray the characters and how close this all mirrors Austen’s creation. We will also make comparison to other Emma adaptations.
Listen to Episode 3 here: https://whattheaustenpodcast.buzzsprout.com/
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Transcript of the episode:
Welcome, everyone, I'm joined by Louise from Mrs. E's luxuries. So hi, Louise.
Hiya. You okay?
Yeah. I'm good, thank you. I'm so pleased you could join me. So do you want to just say a little bit about your blog? And you know how you got into Austen?
Yes. So Mrs E's luxuries actually was born, if you will, when I was on my honeymoon in early September 2018. And it was a case that I've always had an interest in, like the feel good luxuries in life, throughout my entire life. And I thought, why not just combine social media that I really enjoyed connecting with people and sharing what I'm up to, to the luxuries of life, because I believe that everybody deserves to have that sense of luxury in life. And with regards to Austen. To me, that's, that's an added luxury to me to be able to have that sense of, I guess it's English culture, isn't it? That Jane Austen has shaped so much with regards to literature. And I was introduced to it by my best friend actually, back when I was 14, I want to say, and she introduced me to Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 films. So I guess it was that kind of introduction into what Austen's world was about. And then I actually was gifted some books, some gorgeous books. I've actually got my emma one here, with the Victoria and Albert's covers from one of my grandparents. And then I was hooked. Yeah, that's
such a lovely gift and love that.
Got the emma one here
Wow, no I love that, that's wonderful way to get into it. And It's so nice, like from a friend as well. I love that.
No, yeah, the fact that actually my my upbringing was more Disney because my mom is a massive Disney fan. So it was all very much focused on on that and I actually got my mom into Austen and I bought her a Pride and Prejudice pin the buck bonnets and piano fortes. Yeah, so the fact that she got into Austen as well was really lovely, because she'll comment something on Facebook and tag me in it with like a Pride and Prejudice or Emma meme.
The community. So great. In general, like when I started my Instagram, I had no idea how big the kind of bookstagram like Janite community was, it's just been amazing. I've met so many great people like yourself, and I just made some really great friends for it. So it's definitely Yeah. The community to be in for sure. So today, we thought we'd focus on the 2009 adaptation of Emma. So I mean, this is my favourite adaptation of Emma and I knew that this is kind of your first introduction to it becuse you watched it quite recently, didn't you?
Yeah. So I went to go see the 2020 film last year. And I mean, I read Emma when I was 17, and hadn't really touched base with it. Since I've watched clips of the Gwyneth Paltrow version and the 2020 version came out and the aesthetics and that one is just gorgeous. And the storyline follows as well. The costumes are just so pretty, like the pastels and everything. So yeah, the 2009 version, literally just just this week. So when you reached out saying that you would do this podcast and asked me to, to come along and talk to you about it. I couldn't say no. Obviously, could not say no. So having this first look into the 2009 version, which To be fair, I didn't really know was around. I think I must have seen a picture of it somewhere. But yeah, this is my first watch. So it was nice to watch a different adaptation with almost fresh eyes still knowing the storyline but seeing it from from a different angle, if you will I guess.
Right and the beauty with this one is it split up into episodes like the 1995 version Pride and Prejudice, which means you can get so much more detail in. And I think when they split them into the episodes, they do follow the book much more closely because they've got the time to I think that's a massive, massive thing.
Epecially for those who aren't maybe fans or not really know, the storylines of Jane's work, that it's actually a better adaptation to, to watch to get that. That fuller story. Totally agree.
Right, absolutely. Yeah. If you've got an essay on Emme and you've not read the book, watch this adaptation. Well we could run through how the different actors portray the roles how we think they bring the characters to life if they do a good job or not. But I thouht we could start with now we did have a difficulty with this with how you pronounce her name, but we're going Romola. Let's go with Romola.
Its so hard.
It is quite hard. Yes if you're watching we are sorry but, I love her version of Emma so much. It's, it's exactly when I was reading when I read the book she is who I saw probably in appearance and in personality. And yeah, the only the only thing that I have with it is I don't think she's necessarily playful enough at the beginning, so maybe with the first two episodes. I say she's maybe not playful enough with how I envision me to be because I do envision it to be quite a playful character. Maybe borderline cheeky.
She's very confident in myself isn't phage just be who she is. And yeah, no, I totally agree. I definitely think Romola I'm tried to make sure I say it right. I definitely think Roman is both and is the closest to I agree how I envisioned them. I found that Gwyneth Paltrow is one in the Was it 96 I wan to say 96. That was her version, yeah, it's definitely because in the early 90s, there was that big, like Jane Austen, like Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and I think even persuasion.
Yeah even one of the sentence sensibilities may have come out then, yeah with Emma Thompson in.
How can I Emma Thompson surname I'm mortified. mortified. And Kate Winslet and the late great Alan Rickman, as well, yeah, it seemed like the early 90s was the like almost another era of Austenites coming through. It's just I found that Gwyneth Paltrow's one. I think she was a bit too reserved for me for that one, like the clips that I've seen. And then you've got Anya Taylor joy. For the 2020 version. I thought she was spectacular. I mean, she was immaculate, but I want to say too immaculate, you know?
I think she comes across, maybe a little bit too pompous. Considering this is, Yes, it's an heiress but this is an heiress of a small town. So I feel like that comes with less pompousness. You know, I mean, this isn't somebody who's growing up in London and also in an estate this is somebody who's stayed in this town village her entire life, which I think is exactly so I think that comes with a sense of, well, its lack of exposure for one but I think there's something maybe not quite right but she is she is perfectionism. Maybe it's too much perfection. Like she wouldn't have the exposure to be that perfect.
I guess it's a bit like where Mr. Western saying, oh, what two letters describe perfection and where he says like the M and the A because of Emma. And that's just right after she insults Miss Bates, and how that's that's not perfection, really? And also, what is perfection? Right.
And I think the main thing about Emma is that I think this is a line I think that that mr knightley says. He says she was faultless despite all her faults. Yeah, I love that. But that is me. Like she isn't perfect. She does have faults. And you know, she she quite often says the wrong thing and offends people. I don't think to hurt them. But I think she just says, speaks her mind. That's just who she is. And she's got she's in the position to do that. And I think that really captures that and the way that she does it like she, yes, offends people. And it's been like a quick moment, but then you can see the pain for doing that. Like she doesn't just offend people. And she's okay with that.
No, no, the fact that Emma is that she's been brought up to care for her father, she obviously cares for her old governess, who gets married to Mr. Weston, there is that love there? It's not a case that she's completely heartless. But, yeah, she definitely says the wrong thing. And doesn't necessarily think about what he's saying. But then again, I don't think Frank Churchill was help. If I'm perfectly honest, he was very helpful in that situation.
No, absolutely. Yeah, I think they bring out the last and one another. Because they're so similar. I think that is why though I think they are so similar, that they bring out too much of their playful side too much of their flirtation too much of their behaviours that it's just like, they don't see the consequences anymore.
No, no. And I think also because Emma's quite young really isn't she she's one in 20. And the fact that she also said that she's Not interested in getting married either. She's quite happy to pair off other people. It almost gives me the impression that she thinks she knows people better than, I don't know, maybe she knows herself.
Right? Yeah, absolutely. And, yeah, I think that that is the case. And I mean, as the story progresses, we realise that even more like, She's so quick to try and understand other people's love life, but she absolutely does not understand her own. She's so oblivious to it that it's almost a shock when she does realise where her heart lies.
I love that realisation, though when she does realise that she's in love with the George Knightley that that face and that internal, internal monologue that she has in the 2009 version, which kind of reminded me of clueless a bit. You know, when she said, like, Oh, well, if he's going to marry anybody, then it's going to be me. And it reminds me I've been clueless when Chers like, Oh, I'm in love with Josh, who obviously is the the adaptation of Knightley. It's like, oh, oh, I'm in love with him. Oh, it's me. Okay, and that sudden, like, Oh, I thought that was really sweet actually watching them. Fall in love.
Well, what do you think of his betrayal? Who is Johnny Lee Miller, isn't it? What do you think is his portrayal of Knightley?
Unknown Speaker 11:21
I think there was that perfect balance of banter that he brings, because you've got this inner circle where his brother married Emma's sister. So naturally, you've got that family banter, witty banter bouncing off one another, which I absolutely loved. Because I guess that's one of the reasons why they do end up falling for each other is because they mesh so well. The mesh so well together, and they're comfortable in each other's company. I thought he was very good looking. Don't get me wrong. He was very easy to watch. But yeah, the only thing that got me was the thought of he's supposed to be older, because he does say when the nephews and nieces are over, and they're holding baby Emma, something like that something to do with when she was a baby.
Right? Absolutely. And how he was I think he basically like, helped school her when she was younger, as well, you know, he must have been, you know, at least in his older teenagers when she was kind of a child, which is definitely quite a big age gap.
Unknown Speaker 12:24
I think theres 16 years difference between them, if I'm right here supposed to be like 37. And she's 21.
Right. And you wouldn't see that in the way they portrayed, although I feel like she looks a lot older as well. Not a lot older, but maybe she doesn't look 21 I'd say I, I like Knightley in the sense that he's, he's so different to Emme. But she he's like exactly what she needs at the same time. Like he's so calm. He gives her the space to be who she is, and then only ever tells her in private like, Look, you've made a mistake here. I'm going to tell you like, this is how it is I think you're in the wrong.
He could always embarrass her, but he doesn't.
Right, because it's not in his nature, because he's so much more mature than she is. But also because he doesn't necessarily have that playful side of him. He's kind of, he's what brings her back down to the kind of a neutral level together, they make the perfect pair, you know, let alone maybe he'd be too boring. And maybe when she's alone, she makes the mistake of being too out there. So together, I think they make a good match. But that obviously brings back to the fact that Frank Churchill and Emma are so similar. They are so playful, they are so kind of boisterous. And obviously Frank has Jane to balance him out.
It'll tell you what he when you first meet him, it's almost the false impression that you get with George Wickham. In proto prejudice, it's like all handsome, man. Hello. And then later on is like, oh, maybe not so nice. Because the whole he leads, I feel like he leads everyone on so much. And then you've got what did I put down though? You got me you got Jane. You've got Harriet as well for a moment and it's all just very, it just it seems to seem a little bit like playboy-ish. So he's, yes, he is an heir isn't he? And his Aunt is very ill, and he is going to inherit this wonderful house. But he I feel like he leads the women along quite a lot.
Frank is absolutely, um, a character that I can see as a real person. Like I actually have known people with his personality type and it's Yes, they make really good friends because they're fun and you know, flirtatious etc. But oh my gosh, the way he treats Jane is just, I know a lot of people feel a lot more angry about it than I do. I'm sure because I do appreciate him as a friend. As a friend. He's not my friend, but I would have probably appreciated him as a friend.
No, the fact Start he he infuriates me where he says about Janes hair at the ball. So he he's sent this piano forte, which no one knows about as of yet he's doing all of this stuff like this flirtation under the under the radar if you will. And then he's like, Oh, yeah, her hair. And, trying to be on board with Emma and they're picking on her, I know that Emma had spent what all of her life being compared to Jane Fairfax, which I know she's quite confident in herself, but at the same time, even the most confident of women if they're being compared to another woman constantly and Miss Bates doesn't do it out of spite or anything. It's just all my niece Jane Fairfax. Look what she's done. She's amazing isn't she, but still to be compared to. He's like, Oh, I'm going to stoop to a lower level and pick on the fact that Jane's hair is not agreeable at the moment, like Hang on a second, this is not okay. Especially when it's revealed later that they've been engaged for some time.
Honestly you could not right is unbelievable. When it comes out, it's just like, what you think that anybody could have been engaged to her but him because of how he treats her like, you could keep the engagement a secret without being nasty about it, but he feels the need to push it to make it so it looks like he would never even consider her an option. Like he asked to push it to the extremes. And I just don't I just think why was that necessary? Surely it would make make you feel more like he wasn't interested as opposed to actively being horrible about it. I mean, if someone was not horrible about someone to me all the time, I'd be like, I'm gonna think of my you kind of fixated on this person.
Yeah especially with someone's hair, but also the fact that it with this version of, of Frank, it's, I don't know, there's something more boyish about him than the others in a more fun sense. And then you've got was it Ewan McGregor, who played Frank in the 96 version, I want to say yes. He's a bit more flirtatious I find and then with the 2021, he's a bit more or I want to say he's more of a play playboy
Comes across more Whickem-y I think. Yes. of Frank in. I think the Frank in the 2009 is very similar to the Frank in the book, and I think he's a different type of villain in the sense that you don't see him as a villain. Like because, yes he does bad things, but you still you don't hate him, like you can't hate him. He's that person. You just like, oh, gosh, you do bad stuff, but everyone will always forgive you. Yeah, he's just likeable.
He doesn't commit the same crime, if you will, as what George Wickham does. I mean, he takes Lydia away and everything runs away with her. It's not like he's taken off somebody and run away then but at the same time, you still got the whole Jane Fairfax things like engaged and they get you're like flirting with other women. Pick one frank just one and go with it. Like surely if you're in love with someone. You? You follow your heart? And that's it. You You know, but he seems almost indecisive. Then Jane, who's she's more reserved compared to Emma, isn't she? She's more, I guess anyway, a little bit like Knightly like where you say, she's quite relaxed.
In that, in that sense is, um, she couldn't speak up for herself. She can't expose the fact that they're engaged so she has to just sit there and endure it. But even if, even if she wasn't a secret, she still probably wouldn't speak up because it wouldn't be decent to do do you know what I mean? person like expose him in front of everyone like oh my gosh, Frank, you're terrible person. She just wouldn't do it because she's not that type of person. So I think he picked the worst person to kind of secretly humiliate obviously, no one knows he's humiliating. But for her it must feel infuriating if she has to especially the Box Hill scene, but she has to sit there and watch him flirt. Like he says stuff like from the first moment I met with Miss Woodhouse, I found her like irresistible or something like that. You know, imagine being the person you're engaged to.
I couldn't imagine Mr E doing that? No, he wouldn't. My Mr. E is very much. If I was to pick out of all the Jane Austen men, I'd say he's, he's a cross between like a Darcy and Bingley. Really actually. I think Knightley is a cross between a Darcy and Bingly, and he's very much a Knightley. But yeah, being engaged to someone and you're watching them openly flirt with other women. Yeah, and poor Jade is just that having like you said having to sit there and endure it just like okay.
I knew for a fact I wouldn't put up with it. I mean, I know Jane does. I'm definitely no I've not got the personality of Jane I would be absolutely not for that whatsoever.
Like. Hang on a second. What are you doing?
Literally I'd be yeah, kicking him off the hill I think. Bye Frank.
Saying that you know that your your partner is called Mr E, that's how we we refer to him but there's another Mr. E who's not quite so charming, Mr Elton, oh my days this guy
What is it about clergymen honestly what is it about clergymen in Jane Austen's novels where they have to be borderline slimy. All of the I mean Mr. Elton in this version is very good looking. All of them are good looking.
Right this is Blake Ritson.
It is yes. Well this Mr. Elton is wonderful to look at and then you've got the Mr. Collins is who are a little less inclined to admire you've got this this Mr. Elton who's just so lovely to look at but at the same time he's so like the whole proposal thing and getting in the same carriage I don't know about you but I just I think every version I just sit there and ugh, Emma get out of there now go.
Oh my god this this version makes me laugh so much. We should be rooted in the stars. I was like, Oh my gosh, kill me right now.
I can't with the because of the whole snow thing as well. There's already chaos with the Christmas Eve party at the Westerns and, and snow and the fact that poor Mr. Woodhouse, whenever something happens where a draft is involved, or someone could be endangered. That's That's it. And it's perfectly understandable as his wife tragically died. But at the same time, you got that chaos going on? And then didn't wasn't Emma supposed to go with her brother in law. And then he was like, No, no, no, you you go with Mr Elton.
And she's like, John, Why are you leaving me with him? But yeah, and the fact that he crosses over and sits next to her and her face. Romola's face like her at the skill, it is just like open mouth. It's so funny, when she's like, let's go sit over there.
And then they kind of the way they shift. Slow. First, it's on the dirty and directly opposite. Then he has the audacity to come along and start over. What is it about with the clergymen as well? They always misunderstand a woman saying no, as a 'I don't actually mean no', you know? And how like, Oh, I'm proposing to you I'm being so romantic. And we're meant to be together. And the protagonist is like, No, no, no, you completely misunderstand my meaning. And he's like, Oh, yeah, but that's that's only for me to to like you even more. No, no, there's no way I've accepted the proposal and then the fact that certainly he has to go all the way to the other end of the of the cast and just sit there so awkward rumbling along just to get back home.
It's so awkward in the fact that obviously for Emma, she totally intended Mr. Elton's view for Harriet so when she like are you know, you're already attached to Harriet, he's like what? And he goes, I couldn't care less if she lived or die?
How awful is that? And also the fact that he's incredibly mean to her later in the ball. So you've got Mrs. Elton, who is like, Oh, no, I'm not gonna do that. And then she goes, and he goes to ask her Mrs. Western, and she's pregnant. And she's like, not today. And say no. What about if Mr Taylor over there he goes, Oh, I'm a married man now suddenly changes his mind on the spot. It's like, I'm a married man. Now I'm not inclined to dance.
Oh, right, so sleazy. He's like, and also he's got some sort of superiority complex, which makes no sense to me whatsoever. Like, obviously, he's got possession in the sense that he's a clergyman in the parish. I don't know where this like? inflated ego comes from? It's the most bizarre thing or even the fact that he thinks that Emma would marry him. Isn't that in the sense just weird as as a whole anyway?
I don't understand where he gets the idea from? And surely he must see that she's just being perfectly nice. There's no romanticism in her character towards Mr. Elton. What so ever. And the fact that he is saying, Oh, yeah, with the with the likeness that she makes of, of Harriet and it appears to be quite attentive to to Harriet. And then I was like, Well, why would you even think that I'm interested in you? And the fact that Jane Austen's father was a clergyman, wasn't he? He was. I don't know where her world, her novels were. The clergymen are quite odd, insufferable.
Yeah, yeah. And creepy.
Yeah. And I don't know, I have no idea how that came about because I normally get the impression that authors when they write characters, they more or less base it off people they know and love or maybe no and maybe not so keen on. But um, I thought she had a pretty good relationship with her father.
And I think, I think it maybe speaks to her humour because I think she's such a sarcastic person. I can imagine. She'd write these kind of characters just to be funny. Like, Oh, look, here's a clutch and like, he doesn't he's, he's really creepy and like, such a weirdo.
I can be like, Dad, I have written this character based on your profession. He's a little bit sleazy, and a bit creepy. I think if I wrote about my dad, he'd be like, thanks for that.
Yeah, no, no, I see what another Mr. Allison seen that that really gets me in this adaptation is when when Harriet and Emma are painting outside. And says like, Oh, yes, it's very nice. And then Emma runs over after looks at Harriet's painting and goes, she was like, What did you say to us? And he's like, oh your paintings coming along nicely. And Emma looks like it. And she's like, oh, he must really love you then, you could just tell by her face that is because the painting is awful. But he said it's good. She's like, Wow, he must really love you. Because, it's terrible.
The whole misconception of who likes Who? Jane Austen she's, she was so good at leading audiences are long and who ends up with who, can I just say to the audience members that my Mr. E is nothing like Mr. E in Jane Austen's Emma. My Mr E is definitely nicer, more Mr. Knightley than anybody else. And I hope that I'm nothing like Mrs. Elton, because I find her quiet-
I could not bare that woman, she would drive me up the wall. I would feel like Emma.
You know, when you've got the cutaways, and she's like, oh, I'll organise everything. Women are better at organising everything. I'm like, slow down.
she rocks up on the donkey.
I don't know. It's almost like hoity toity. But she's, I want to say she's new money. She approaches herself. It's almost like I am better than everybody else here. And I've just got married as well, so everyone should worship me. And even when they're playing that game, saying, oh, tell me what you're thinking where Frank's like, Oh, Miss Woodhouse wants to know what everybody's thinking. And you've got Knightley who's very reserved again, it's like, are you sure you want to know what everyone's thinking? And then you've got Miss Bates bless her who was like, Oh, I could think of the simpler things like that. Like how the clouds like move and everything and how they change really well. And then you've got Mrs Elton, I don't tell anybody what I'm thinking, despite the fact that she's always does. She's so gobby, she, and then she's like, Oh, I don't tell everyone what I'm thinking as if she's trying to have this air of mysteriousness. I don't know. But yeah, here is the character. It's like, you want to draw breath. the fact that she's talking you want to go ahh. To shade depth, I think for entertainment purposes. She's She's a good character, but at the same time with those two together as a couple. Oh.
Just grim, the sleaziest of couples. I think Mrs. Elton does a good job of the first trigger for Emme, even though she still doesn't realise she likes Mr. Knightley. I love that scene where she's like, especially in this version, where she's storming off and she's like, Knightley? I'm the only woman in his life. And I do call him that.
Again, that internal monologue, I think that's what is so wonderful and different about this Emma adaptation compared to the other ones, because you, I think it's more personal to Emma, like her, her storyline, compared to the other adaptations, because you see, especially in the 2020 version, you've got more of the relationship with Harriet, and oh, my goodness, what's his name? The one she ended up getting married to? Robert Martin. That's the one yeah, there's in the 2020 version, you've got more of that. Whereas this one, I felt like there was more it was more to do with Emma and the world through her eyes, as opposed to the other tity bity bits around her. Right. And the internal monologue is refreshing in this one, because it's more personal. And I think it's more real as well, because I think when we get angry, we sometimes go ugh ahh we just start almost like talking to ourselves, but the fact that She flops in the bed is like, I can't even call him that. I wonder if that's jealousy as well because she has that friendship relationship going on with George Knightley. And then all of a sudden Mrs. Elton pops along. like who are you?
Right? Exactly. Yeah, I think that it's like the first step that she becomes aware of her relationships Mr Knightley Even if she doesn't realise that it's a romantic one at that point. Her, like long friendship with him becomes so relevant to her when Mr. Elton turns off and she's like, trying to say, Oh, this and that and Kightley, and she's like, you didn't know him? I know. I think the like you're saying about the interior monologue, I think, in the fact that it comes from Emma's viewpoint. I think that's so important for the character itself, though, because this is Emme, this is Emma's world. The point of the book is that she has been so isolated. This is all she knows, in the way that she behaves is a product of upbringing. So I think the fact that this shows everything from her perspective is so relevant.
The world of of Hybry, it's, that's that's her. You're absolutely right. When you said earlier about her, and she doesn't have to worry about money, does she? It's not like other Jane Austen characters where they have to marry in order to be secure. She's She's pretty secure. And actually, you've almost got that futuristic feminist of her being perfectly happy not wanting to marry and then actually, at the end, you've got George Knightley moving in with her to Hartfield. Instead of staying at Donwell, which I actually, it that struck me when I first was introduced to to Emma is the fact that you've got the man moving in with the women, which back then is that it was the other way around. Like if you wanted to be secure in life, you had to get married and there was that pressure to to find someone to marry or wealth.
I think he he's so secure in his position, like do you know what I mean, in general, like he is so secure in his position that he could just be like, I'll just move in that with you because he's, he's got the respect of the town anyway, I think that's maybe what he dislikes about Frank church. And Frank Churchill goes around just doing this and that without any consequences, whereas Knightley is so particular about how he presents himself how he cares for people like obviously they Robert Martin's, one of his tenant farmers, and he's so kind to him and then you know, he wanted him to marry Harriet saw, it was a good match, etc. So I think he is just the better man really, isn't he but I think he definitely gets his feathers all riled up. which is understandable, because Frank does just do as he pleases, and it like it has no consequences, obviously, in the end, I mean, in the end, it doesn't seem to have any consequences either.
No but it's funny how it all turns out, right? People pairing up with, I guess, who they were meant to be with who complements the other? So you've got the Elton's they compliment each other. The Westens bless them. They're just so like, they're so sweet, aren't they? They give me Mr. And Mrs. Gardener vibes.
Yes, yes. Oh, I love those two. And where do you say that? Because you've got Mr. Weston who was in Downton Abbey. And then you've got the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. You've got Mrs. Gardner, who's in Downton Abbey as well. And it's almost like that. Yeah, it's almost the the second parental figures to the main character. It's it?
Miss Taylor, when she's the governance. When she comes Mrs. Western.
That's it. And the fact that she she was with Emma for most of her life. And then you've got Mr. Western who plays honorary father almost. Yeah.
And I think I think the whole Emma Frank thing was just like a thought that had happened since they were younger, because they've been in the same year group or whatever. And they were born in a similar time. And then it was like, well, they'll be destined to be together because he gets taken off and obviously becomes a gentleman. And she obviously is an heiress. And they both have property, etc. So I think it was just kind of a natural assumption that they will be together. But because they're so similar, they always come across like siblings, as opposed to people that can be together romantically. It'd be an absolutely nightmare. He imagined the two of them together, they'd cause chaos. I think as well that they would work out because something that's so important to Emma, which also brings her back down to reality is her father, played by-
Yes, of course Dumbledore,
Dumbledore. Anything that has Michael Gammons named against it, you know, it's going to be a good one. You know it. How different I feel like his portrayal is so different. He's so frail.
He's like a hypochondriac, and I feel like that's very, very I'm very, very different to the 2020 version. Where he's still quite up. He's still like, you know, can still do stuff. I mean, one of the things he jumps down the stairs.
Yeah, but yeah, Micheal Gambons adaptation. He He is definitely more more frail. I think when I when I first read Emma, I took him as I guess I kind of just imagined him as just a very melancholy older man because he's lost his wife. And he's, he's very, very much a hypochondriac. He doesn't, he doesn't want to be too rash with anything. He doesn't want to necessarily go to balls and all that because he's scared that something bad might happen.
But he wants Emma to stay with him as well, he wants, his worst nightmares, her getting married, and I feel like this adaptation really plays on that, that he especially the end when she runs to Knightley's house and she's like crying and she's like, he was worried about this all of his life like I can't leave.
And then you've got George who's he's that comforting, the comforting side of the relationship and the fact that he like I said earlier, he's willing to give up living at Donwell to come and live with her and, and Mr. Woodhouse. But what do you think of the Father daughter relationship compared to Isabella and Mr. Woodhouse? And then you've got Emma Mr. Woodhouse.
So different? It's so different, like, obviously he still cares for his mother and is concerned for his safety but the relationship between Mr. And Mr. Woodhouse is I just think it's a beautiful father daughter relationship like obviously is quite limiting for Emma in the sense that she can't do anything it fear of worrying him too much. But I don't think it's toxic. I think it's mutual affection. She wants to care for him and he loves to be around her. And I think in the book the only reason why they wouldn't be content together is because he doesn't have enough playfulness. I think that's what they say like he's not playful enough obviously. It's not got the youth Emma has to be a companion to her.
And the fact that Emma is the youngest daughter as well, protectiveness there, as well as like, Don't leave me.
Exactly, and he's always saying like, why would Emma want to go anywhere? She's Mistress of Hartfield. This is her world, she's got everything she could ever want. But Mr. Mr. Knightley is always there for Mr. Woodhouse as well do you know I mean, like all three, like he sits with him? They are I mean, they're seriously close family friends. Like it's, I think that's a nice relationship that we don't see in a lot of Austen. Is that like, actually amongst, you know, the Lander gentry that there are these connections that they they form strong friendship. I mean, maybe Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, that's you know, is another example of that I love these friendships I really do think it like take somebody if the same situation to you to fully understand you. And I think that really shows in in this version of Emma
It's so heartwarming to think about the father daughter relationships that are presented in there. And I guess it makes me feel sorry for Mr. Western because obviously Frank gets he sent away.
They really emphasise that as well.
Yeah. The whole father son relationship is, it seems almost cracked, because he had to be sent away. And then you've got Mr. Weston bless him. He gets quite defensive in that one scene, I can't remember what episode it was, but when he when Emma says does even exist kind of thing. Again, that whole word vomit thing. And then you almost see the hurt in Mr. Weston's face, and he's like, No, no.
But how quick is she to mend it? how quick it she to mend. And that shows the difference between her and Frank, I think, and that she does not intentionally hurt people. Also the time when she realises that Mr. Elton likes her over Harriet she goes to Harrier and she's like crying and she's holding Harriets hand. And she's like, I'm so sorry. like Harriet and her are not equals. But in that moment, they are like Emma does not. Emma doesn't turn up to our house. Like I'm an heiress. And I'm just going to tell you that he liked me over you like she's, she's, this is her friend. Get what I mean? And I think that's what seperates her from Frank
After she's insulted Miss Bates, and then after George has said, Look, what you've done what you did there was wrong. And she realises that and she goes to mend ways. And I think what was lovely in the scene leading up to her going to apologise to Miss Bates, you've got the town Hybry, judging her. Like you've got for one part, you've got the whole town respecting Emma and the Woodhouses and everything. And then suddenly she she insults Miss Bates on this one occasion, and suddenly they turn quite sour toward her and you see that and that slow motion walk and the whole, very creatively done. But the fact that Emma is so sure of herself, to be able to put her hands up and go Yeah, What I did there was completely wrong. I am ready to mend ways she doesn't burn bridges. She doesn't think that she's better than anyone. Really she she knows she identifies the fact that what she did and said was wrong. And I think that says a lot about her, especially as a 21 year old because I don't know about most 21 year olds, if they do something that's quite rash, they probably just, I feel bad about that. But I can't say that I'm sorry, because that admits that I've done something wrong. Whereas Emma, she's very much despite the fact that she's really young.
She goes, yep, okay, I'm in the wrong. Let's see what I can do to mend it.
Right? Well, I'd say it's the period of time where you start to build that side of yourself. And I think that's absolutely what Emma is about. I think some people misinterpret it sometimes. And a lot of people really dislike her as a character. But I think they totally misunderstand the kind of character she is. She's somebody who grows within her novel. She learns so much about herself like you said she, she amends for her mistake. She's like, oh, gosh, oh upset that person. I need to make up for it. She's not selfish all the way through. She is privileged, but she's not cruel with that she, she wants to be a good person. These people mean a lot to her. They are her world.
Even though she's privileged. And she doesn't use that against anybody. She doesn't not like Lady Catherine de Burgh for instance.
Right? Or even Caroline Bingley.
Oh, gosh, yeah, of course, she is the most obvious one, isn't she?
And she's not even, you know, old money. She's new money. And she's still up her own bum. It's ridiculous.
I know. I know. And you've got mistakes. Her heart is in the right place of say almost people pleasing, just trying to be that, you know, she's so open to make conversation. And I guess that is borderline loneliness as well. I know she's got her mother. But her mother's quite old.
Her mothers mute.
Yeah, the fact that she she has Jane as well, but only from letters. The fact that she received letters.
Then obviously, even when Jane arrives she's so distant because well, obviously we find out later. It's because she's engaged to Frank and Frank's been so awful to her. I think I blocked myself in my room as well.
I actually found this version, despite the fact that yes, she has to be really quiet with everything. I found her more open and happier than other versions. I don't know what it was. I don't know if that was the actor's choice or the director's choice. But I definitely thought that this version of Jane Fairfax, I think think she was more amiable, then then maybe the other ones.
We get to know Jane better in this version. I'd say we get more time with her. I think she's very much brushed over in 2020 one. Almost like a forced character. She's not there on the list. Whereas in this one, I think she is an important character, which I think makes the storyline with her and Frank obviously, the secrecy and then the exposure much more powerful, because you're like, Oh, my God, what? The story already, but I can imagine you've watched it and you didn't, you'd be so I can't I mean, I wish I could read it again for the first time. Like I wish I could erase my memory.
Exactly. I felt the exact same way when I was watching this version. It's funny when you you know a story, and you know what's going to happen? But at the same time, you you want to watch it afresh, without knowing anything to have that same reaction you had done the first time. Proposals in the Austen world, they're always it's never exactly, romantic, per say, especially with the 2020 version. That was the whole nosebleed situation.
Awful. I'm really opposed to blood. It really freaks me out. I was like, Oh, no, I hate blood. I watch Austen because I hate blood there is no blood.
No. Well, the fact that that happened in that version, and I did sit there question going. I don't think that's in the book. I don't know if that was in the book. And I was talking with my friend and watching it and going. Oh, you know, as everyone I think if people have read the book and know, Emma, that the version, the most recent version, it was quite shocking. But then again, I guess, Hollywood, they want to have that big shock factor. Just to give it that extra spice but does does it need spice?
It was weird to me.
I didn't particularly take to that myself. Not too bad with blood. But when it came to that one, it was just a bit. Okay, so we're going down that route. That's romantic fine, then again, I don't think any. It's all very just, oh, this is how I feel. I think it's almost quite real.
Yeah. Oh, especially with this one when he's like chasing her and she's like, please you're telling me you're telling me because she thinks he's gonna say he loves Harriet?
Yeah, it's it's all very real. And with proposals you think it's all slightly, trumpets and all that. To be fair though, my engagement was, how it happened was very romantic and it was very much on the spot. But with the, as far as I'm aware, the Austen proposals are just very, okay. This is how I feel
This one they're like in the garden and basically chasing each other around the garden as they're trying to express their feelings while also Emma doesn't want to be hurt by knowing that he doesn't love.
Yeah. And you've got all the the confusion as to who has feelings for who. And the fact that like I said earlier with Emma, she, she has a very slow realisation of she does have feelings for George.
I think there's something a little bit awkward about Johnny Lee Miller's when he's proposing like that he's been so sure of himself. In this one he's a little bit awkward. He's kind of like looking down at the ground. And she's like.
All of them are actually awkward in their own right. It makes me, wonder what was Regency courting like?
Right I actually think most proposals were just a conversation like I don't think there were massive gestures of I'm proposing to you right now. I think they were just like you I want to marry you. Will you accept me?
Yes or no. And if you're a clergyman just don't don't-
Don't bother. Don't take any advice from Austen clergymen on how to propose.
You've got to love them for that though. You've got to love them for that.
I love to see when she hides behind the bush when she sees him coming out the house and she's there behind this bush like, Oh my gosh, I don't want you to see me and it's like I can guarantee you he's gonna see you like it's so obvious. But also the complication between Knightley thinking Emma was in love with Frank and is hurt over that and Emma thinking that Knightley is in love with Harriet. And then at the end, it's them coming together and going, this is true. This isn't true. We like each other. And it's just getting rid of all that unknown.
What I love, then you've got obviously the proposal where there's, there's that vulnerability, like yeah, and it is a vulnerable thing, isn't it? When you open yourself up to somebody, and you admit feelings for for the other person? And then you do have that underlying fear of do they feel the same way about me? Have I have I got this completely wrong? And then you've got that euphoric feeling of? Yes. Like this, this is, this is us. We are we are meant to be together and how happy they look at the end as well.
He takes her to this seaside I just love that.
And the fact that she's never been anywhere else other than her home town. The fact that she's been there since birth. And even when she was asked by Frank about Weymouth, like have you ever been Emma? And she's like, No, no, I haven't, because he kept saying that she's so well rounded.
I think Mr. Knightley knows that's an insecurity for her as well that she's not travelled. And I think that's so nice that he's the one that says about box hill. And then, Donwell, before that, and then the seaside at the end of the adaptation. He sees that that's a weakness for her that she knows that other people have travelled to her her age, and she hasn't. But he wants to give her the opportunity to not feel like she's missing out on something. I just love that. Yeah. So I think we'll probably wrap it up there. I mean, that's a good good note to end on, the proposal and I've really enjoyed having you on it's been so nice to just, you know, chat chat about Emma and particularly, you know, the the 2009 adaptation, which is my favourite.
It's just been it's it's refreshing to be able to have a conversation like this. Thank you very much. I'm very grateful.
No, of course, I'm sure you'll be on again for another topic.
I'd love to let me know anytime I'd be more than happy to, it'd be a delight.
So where can everybody find you? Like what's the best place? Your blog? You want to let people know?
Yeah, so Instagram is the best place, I'm more active on Instagram, just at Mrs. E's Luxuries. And I have my website https://mrsesluxuries.co.uk/ So you can find me there. Mrs E's luxuries Tik Tok's going because everybody's raving about Tik Tok. So I've been giving. I'm giving that a go. Yeah, so I will obviously let you know Iz.
No, of course. And I'll just I'm going to put every episode on my website as well. And I'll just link you know, where people can find you on there. So it's easy access. But yeah, thanks so much for joining me.
I've loved it. Thank you so much.