Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

So when I say I’ll be reviewing Emma (1996), most people think about this:

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I however will be talking about this:

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So this film follows the book of Emma pretty accurately. It doesn’t have everything, of course, as it is only a hour and 47 minutes, but it does a good job. So how I am going to do this review is a bit different, instead of looking at the storyline I am going to review how the characters were portrayed and the set design.

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Set

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So let’s look at the indoor set featured above. Now I know that A&E Television was trying to go for a more realistic feel, but heads up movie writers; if we cannot see the action happening then you need to skip “accurate” for enjoyable. Nobody wants to spend their money on something that can’t tell them what is happening.

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I agree that the chiaruscuro and candlelight is a nice effect, but not worth it. It is like when you watch Onegin and you have those scenes where you have no clue what anything looks like. Good thing for Ralph Fiennes’ amazing voice.

The rooms also lacked any pizazz or beauty.

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The outdoors were extremely lovely, and kudus to the screenwriters who show how the servants had to carry every component of the picnic up the hill for their Box Hill little party. That was great.

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Costumes

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So while Emma (1996) aka Gwyneth Paltrow Version had this absolutely beautiful and stunning costumes, this version’s ones were so boring. I mean even Catherine had better things  than what the very rich Emma wore in this.

And “poor” Elizabeth also wore more attractive and beautiful garments.

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These ones were just too plain and not befitting someone as important as Emma. I mean even her ball gown was boring.

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Mr. & Mrs. Weston

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV / Rex USA ( 525489SJ ) James Hazeldine and Samantha Bond in 'Emma' - 1996 ITV ARCHIVE

So in the book Miss Taylor turned Mrs. Weston was Emma’s governess, but in reality her confidant and best friend. While they don’t spend as much time together, with her married, in a new home, and concentrating on her new family; still they are buds. In this we hardly ever see Mrs. Weston and I can’t recall a scene in which she talks to Emma, except to warn her about Frank and Jane’s upcoming marriage. Great job there A&E turning her whole character into a little blimp in the story.

Mr. Weston also hardly has any scenes or interactions in this film, which is a complete shame as he is a incredibly cool guy.

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Harriet Smith

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This is one area where the film was fantastic. I have not seen a portrayal of Harriet Smith as fantastic as the one done by Samantha Morton.

Wow

Wow

In this she doesn’t play Harriet as the empty flower pot or the kind-hearted klutz; instead Morton focused on the aspect of Harriet’s unknown parentage and ran with it in her presentation of the character. Before I watched this film, I never thought of what Harriet went through not knowing who her parents were. I mean if you think of how people treated those who were in a slightly lower class, but respectable (like the Bennets in Pride & Prejudice) imagine how they would treat someone who is unknown. When someone would not claim their child as their own, it typically meant an illegitimate birth, usually the mistress. So those girls in school were most likely not interested in becoming besties with Harriet, or having anything at all to do with her.

Noo!

Aw

This completely explains why Harriet is so eager to do everything Emma says. After so long of being alone; family-less and friendless, she finally has someone who cares about her and will do whatever she can to keep it.

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I have to say one of the best scenes is when Emma is chattering away about how Harriet’s father must be an important gentleman and you see Harriet looking down, brokenhearted saying something like I hope so.

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The way she acts around Robert is also just adorable. You can tell she is crazy about him, but also scared. Scared of being abandoned again, rejected by her friend Emma, and making the wrong decision as she has no family to guide her.

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Great job Morten.

And I truly mean it

And I truly mean it

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Jane Fairfax

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Jane Fairfax is Emma’s character foil. While Emma doesn’t play piano well, paints okay, doesn’t read, has a meager education as she isn’t into studies, enjoys meddling, can be rude or snobby, and likes to do what she wants without thinking of others; Jane is the opposite. Jane is a superb piano player, an excellent painter, enjoys reading, has a high level of education, enjoys privacy, is kind, compassionate, and considerate of others. A regular Goofus and Gallant, (J.K. I love Emma). This is one of the reasons why Emma dislikes Jane, as she is envious of what she has accomplished.

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However, in this film they didn’t show that at all. Emma dislikes Jane, but we hardly see them react or why Emma is so jealous. We don’t hear others praise Jane, and the conversation when Emma is pumping Jane for information wasn’t intriguing.

This Jane hardly even seemed there, she wasn’t a very intriguing nemesis.

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Mr. & Mrs. Elton

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So Mr. & Mrs. Elton are some of the villians in the novel and film. Mr. Elton proposes to Emma and when she refuses him he is extremely rude to her and Harriet; going out of town and picking out a shrew of a woman to be his wife.

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In this depiction they didn’t have as much of a role. We see them for the crucial scenes of Elton proposing, them cutting Harriet, and so and so.

I didn’t like their depiction as they are supposed to be more hatable. You are supposed to extremely dislike them and want bad things to befall them.

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Mr. Frank Churchill

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Frank Churchill is also supposed to be the villian in the book. At first he seems like a nice, sweet guy, courting Emma; but in reality he is a major jerk. He ignores his father, ignores his real fiancé, and leads Emma on.

How rude

The Frank Churchill wasn’t quite as sleazy as he should have been, in my opinion, but he did a good job. He had a painted on smile and gave off an air of insincerity; which worked really great. This actor did a great job and I give him a ten.

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Mr. George Knightley

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I thought this was the worst depiction of Mr. Knightley. Where to start? Well first of all his hair. Why did they pick that particular hairstyle? It looks too mulletish and makes him have the appearance of a receding hairline.

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My biggest issue with Mark Strong as Knightley is that he is just too brooding to be Knightley. Knightley is older, but still relaxed enough to be best friend with Emma and joke around with her. He is serious but can also have fun.

Strong as Knightley is just brooding all the time and whenever he talks his eyes flash and he practically yells in anger. He makes me think of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast the way he reacts to everything and everyone.

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I thought Strong made the character too dark, he would have been better as a Darcy than a Knightley.

I also didn’t like the scene of him with baby Emma, that was a little too weird. And the scene he announces his proposal he sounds as of he is yelling at everyone as if he is planning to destroy them all.

Gilmore girls creep

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Emma Woodhouse

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I really hated this version of Emma. I thought Beckinsale was a horrible actor, just kind of staring off into space and being blank and like a piece of wood.

If she wasn’t being totally deadpan she had this creepy expression on her face like she wanted to devour everyone like a female praying mantis.

I thought it was horribly bland and boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

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Ending conclusion:

Something is not right!

I thought the way the characters were portrayed was boring, the transitions weird, and the film all around mediocre. There was no fun to it and the actors talked as if they were being paid an extra bonus if they could finish their lines in under three seconds.

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For more on Emma, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

For more Emma adaptations, go to Mr. Knightley’s Diary

For more Jane Austen films, go to I Don’t Want You Far From Me: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

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You Look Beautiful Just the Way You Are: How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Romantic Moment #7
HowtomarryaMillionaireHow to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

This is a silly romantic film from the 1950s, and one of Marilyn Monroe’s most known films. So we have three department store models create a scheme in order to land rich millionaires. Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall) heads up the group. Schatze had been married to a gas pump attendent who used her for money and kept running out on her.

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After she was granted her divorce, she decided instead of marrying for love, she would marry for stability. She gets Pola Debevoise (Marilyn Monroe) to join her in her scheme. Pola’s issue is that she is extremely near-sighted, but doesn’t like to wear glasses as “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” To fill out their group, they ask ditzy Loca Dempsey (Betty Grable) to join them.

The three rent a furnished penthouse apartment from an IRS fugitive Freddy Denmark (David Wayne), in hopes to appear wealthy to rich men. Loca immediately brings home a man she met in the grocery store, Tom Brookman (Cameron Mitchell). He becomes very interested in Schatze, but Schatze takes one look at him and judges him as too poor for her. In reality, Tom is extremely wealthy.

Schatze sets her sights on the wealthy, older, Texan, J.D. Hanley played by the handsome William Powell. She tries to convince him that she loves him and wants to marry him, but J.D. thinks they are too far apart in age. Hey, for William Powell I wouldn’t care how far in ages we were.

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Tom continues to pursue Schatze, but she says no again and again.

Meanwhile Loca has met a wealthy married businessman. He invites her to his lodge in Maine for the weekend (wanting a mistress). Loca thinks it is a meeting with Elk’s Lodge members. Schatze tells her not to go, but Loca goes down and discovers that all the guy was interested in was an affair, not marriage. She intends to return home to New York, but the two contract the measles. She and him have to stay on extra time, with Loca recovering much sooner. She finds herself spending time with her nurse, and the area’s forest ranger, Eben (Rory Calhoun). She starts falling for him, and he proposes, but Loca unsure of whether to marry him as he is poor.

Then we have Pola who is getting into scrape after scrape as she trips over this, mistakes that, etc. She meets a phony Arab Tycoon who wears an eye patch and invites her to come with him to Atlantic City to “meet his mother.” Schatze warns Pola not to go as “no mothers live in Atlantic City”. Pola doesn’t listen, but finds herself on a plane to Kansas City as she misread the sign. Her seatmate happens to be Freddy Denmark, who is on his way to get his crooked accountant and make him pay. The two spend the whole flight talking.

Back in New York, J.D. returns as he realizes that he wants Schatze in his life. They get ready for the wedding, when the girls show up. Loca decides that she’d rather have her hunky mountain man than a millionaire. Pola chooses the now penniless fugitive rather than any tycoon. Schatze laughs at them for being chumps, but finds herself unable to marry J.D. as she loves Tom. Her and Tom talk it out and the two marry. That evening the six are eating at a diner celebrating and goofing around how much money they have when Tom reveals his net worth. The girls are in shock and faint at it.

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*******Most Romantic Moment*******

So the part that I think is just so romantic is when Pola is on the plane with Freddy Denmark. So before I get into that, let’s discuss Pola a bit more. So every scene we have Pola crashing into something and everyone asking her why don’t you just wear your glasses if you can’t see? Pola tells them she can’t as men don’t like girls with glasses. Now I know this may be hard for many of you to understand with the whole hipster glasses being a cool thing, but growing up with glasses is difficult.

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It’s hard being picked on by being called four eyes, having to wake up every morning and being unable to see, having to deal with the glasses vs. sunglasses problem, the expense of contacts, etc…and of course being told time and time again that glasses will make you impossible to catch a date ever.

Now as Pola is waiting on the plane flying to Kansas City, Freddy Denmark, her seatmate notices that she is doing some odd things. He realizes that she isn’t wearing her glasses and asks her why. When she tells him that guys don’t like girls with glasses, Freddy tells her to put them on and test it out. She does and Freddy tells her that she is crazy as she was beautiful before but even better with them on.

Perfect!

Perfect!

Unless you grew up being bullied for wearing glasses you won’t understand how truly romantic that is to hear. Oh Freddy! I’d marry you too.

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In fact this was so romantic they reprised this scene in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and hit on what it’s like really well.

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And don’t forget: beYourself Beauty

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part III from the beginning, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

For the previous post, go to I’m Here For You: The Italian Job (2003)

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For more on Coco Chanel, go to Sisterly Roles

For more quotes, go to Shall We Dance?: What Happens in Vegas (2008)

Anything Can Happen: An Affair to Remember (1957)

Romantic Moment #10

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An Affair to Remember (1957)

I love this movie so much! It is one of my favorite romantic films. I mean it has CARY GRANT in it, so already you know it is going to be wonderful.

Aw!

Aw!

Now even if you haven’t seen it, this film may sound familiar to you. This is the film the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks film that Sleepless in Seattle is based around. An Affair to Remember is the film that Meg Ryan’s character, Annie, and Rosie O’Donnell’s character, Becky, are crazy about. Even Tom Hanks character Sam’s sister Suzy, (played by Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson) adores it. In fact if you haven’t seen either movie I recommend watching An Affair to Remember before Sleepless in Seattle. You just enjoy the movie on a deeper level that way.

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An Affair to Remember is a remake of Love Affair starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. As much as I like original films and Irene Dunne, I prefer An Affair to Remember because of Cary Grant. Like I said before, I’m a big fan.

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An Affair to Remember is about two people who meet on a cruise and fall in love, although both’s affections are engaged elsewhere. Nickie Ferrante, (Cary Grant), is a playboy engaged to Lois Clark; while Terry McKay, (Deborah Kerr), is mistress to Kenneth Bradley. The two try to stay apart but spend dinners together, walks, Terry even meets Nick’s grandmother; and the two end up falling in love.

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As both feel they are not good enough with the life styles they have been living, (both living off money provided from the people they are dating.) They agree to each live on their own and meet up in six months at the top of the Empire State Building. If the other doesn’t show up; the one waiting will know that they decided to go on with their life in the original direction planned.

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In six months, Nickie is a painter and he eagerly rushes to the Empire State Building. Terry is a singer in a nightclub, and on her way to meet Nickie, she gets hit by a cab; paralyzed for the rest of her life. Nickie ends up waiting the whole night for her, but she never comes.

It's so Sad!

It’s so Sad!

Terry tells Nickie nothing about the accident, feeling that she is not worthwhile being paralyzed. She is too proud to go to him, and too scared. The two cross paths at a concert, and Nickie sees her with her old boyfriend, hurt and betrayed at what he thinks she did.

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Will they be reunited or is this affair over for good?

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Most Romantic Moment: Reunited Lovers

This romantic moment comes at the very end. It is the most romantic and I am so sorry I don’t have a video to show you, but I couldn’t find one.

It is Christmas day and Terry has decided to spend it home alone, when Nickie shows up, angry, bitter and hurt; but determined to give her the shawl that his grandmother left Terry when she died.

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He tells her he painted a picture of her, and didn’t sell it. Instead a woman in a wheelchair wanted it, and didn’t have enough money so he had his dealer give it to her.

Nickie Ferrante: You know, l painted you like that, with the shawl. l wish you could have seen it. Courbet said it was one of my best. l didn’t think l could ever part with it, but there was no reason to keep it any longer. l couldn’t take money for it because, well, you know…So Courbet told me a young woman came into the gallery and… she liked it. She saw in it what l’d hoped you’d see, so… l told Courbet to give it to her. Because he said she didn’t have any money, and not only that, she was…Anyway, l told him to give it to her…”

At first he is angry that she is so indifferent to him, and never even gets up to greet him just laying on the couch; but as he is talking he starts thinking about the woman in the wheelchair and Terry’s actions. Could they be the same person?

suspicious Hmm

Nickie looks around, and then he sees it. THE PAINTING!

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He runs to her and holds her in his arms.

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This is the part everyone starts weeping at, bawling. Who can blame them? It is such a sweet moment, the two reunited.

“Terry McKay: Darling, don’t look at me like that.
Nickie Ferrante: Why didn’t you tell me? If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?
Terry McKay: It was nobody’s fault but my own. l was looking up. It was the nearest thing to heaven. You were there.
Nickie Ferrante: Oh, darling.
Terry McKay: Don’t worry, darling. If you can paint, l can walk. Anything can happen, don’t you think?
Nickie Ferrante: Yes, darling.
Terry McKay: Yes, darling.”

So romantic

So romantic

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So in Sleepless in Seattle, you get some great scenes of the women talking about this moment.

One of the best scenes is in the beginning when Becky and Annie are watching An Affair to Remember. I love this scene because it is the kind of conversations I have with my friends after I watch a great movie. I am always Annie in these scenarios.

“Annie Reed: Now those were the days when people knew how to be in love.
Becky: You’re a basket case.
Annie Reed: They knew it. Time, distance, nothing could separate them, because they knew it was right. It was real. It was… 
Becky:  A movie. That’s your problem. You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.


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And then one of my favorite scenes is when Suzy shares the story of An Affair to Remember with her brother Sam and husband. The guys make fun of her, but I love this scene because when I bring up the story of An Affair to Remember I tell it in the exact same way Suzy does.

I love this scene because I can see myself having the reaction of Annie or Becky.

And in the end Annie and Sam get the romantic ending that Terry and Nickie never got.

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To start Romance is in the Air from the beginning, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)

For the previous post, go to You’re Just Too Good Too Be True: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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For more on An Affair to Remember, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

For more on Cary Grant, go to On the 7th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

For more on falling in love at a bad time, go to If I Never Knew You

For more remakes, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)