• The adaptation of Emma into a more modern version as depicted in Clueless was by far the most interesting. When the film started you already could see the obvious similarities between Emma and this adaptation. The […]

    • It’s at least mildly interesting that when Clueless came out, the major movie reviewers in newspapers and magazines were entirely clueless that it was an updated version of Emma. They reviewed it as a teen dating movie. (The film’s credits do not reference Jane Austen.) It wasn’t until the Gwyneth Paltrow film came out the following year that reviewers twigged to the ultimate source of the Heckerling screenplay.

  • This adaptation of Emma was interesting to me in many different ways. First off I was drawn to the way the narration was portrayed in the movie. When the movie first opens you hear the voice of Harriett which […]

    • I don’t think that’s quite right. There’s a background narrator whom we hear at the beginning and at the end of the film, and very occasionally in between, and the voice is not to my ear Toni Collette’s, which never loses that tiny bit of an Australian accent — to me it sounded a bit like Greta Scacchi’s voice. (I’ve tried in vain to look this up.)

      And then we get quite a bit of Gwyneth Paltrow’s voice in V.O.; the screenplay by McGrath creates a “diary” so that we can hear Emma thinking aloud. Some of the other scenes that Austen narrates in FID are presented as Emma spilling her guts to Anna Weston, e.g. Emma’s realization that “nobody must marry Mr. Knightley but myself.”

      We do get Toni Collette’s voice in V.O. in that one sequence where she narrates bumping into the Martins in Highbury; the effect is to bring us into line with, to reassure us about, Harriet’s eventual fate as Mrs. Robert Martin, instead of focusing on Harriet’s relation to Emma. (We can see that he’s still carrying a torch for Harriet.)

      As for the romantic relationship between Emma and Knightley in this film, it seems to be on the simmer, if not on the boil, all the way through. In the book Emma thinks seriously about Frank Churchill but not in this film. Starting with the archery scene, they clearly are relating to each other as man and woman, and by the time of the Weston ball, when they dance with each other (Knightley says “Brother and sister? No indeed!”), it’s entirely clear where this is going, there’s no mystery about it at all, except a bit to Emma herself.