You Must See Emma If…
1. You understand this is an adaptation of Jane Austen and will take liberties so you are able to relax and enjoy it.
2. You need to be transported in a world so beautifully Regency that you could watch this film without sound and still be fully engaged. It’s like time travel.
3. You dearly love to laugh. This adaptation of Emma plays up the comedy for all it’s worth.
4. You are fully prepared to swoon over the most sumptuous creations that are these Regency costumes. They are magnificent and another star of the film. The details from the stitching on the gloves to the embroidery on the shawls is exquisite. You want a painful case of bonnet envy? See this film.
5. You are prepared to get frustrated that you cannot freeze frame just to look at the beautiful picture created or take in the colours and detail visible in every frame. Every location is a treasure. This production is just gorgeous. The flowers..the food…a million things to ogle!
6. You have always thought the older male characters should have it going on. We’re looking at you Mr. Weston and Mr. Woodhouse! Whoohoo!
7. You have always longed to see Mr. Knightley stark naked. Absolutely stark naked. From behind. And then wonder– or worry— every time he tugs at his clothing if he intends to be naked again. Granted, I always think the men look better in their puffy shirts and frock coats. But I’m not everybody.
8. You want to see Emma hoist her skirts up to toast her own dear buns by the fire, simultaneously reminding everyone that the Regency is a knicker-free zone, and that we should brace ourselves for a very different adaptation of “Emma”.
9. You have always wanted to attend the Weston’s Christmas party. It’s breathtaking, lovely and the way the scene plays out, they really wouldn’t mind us crashing.
10.You want to witness the most brilliant portrayal of Mr. Woodhouse ever. Bill Nighy makes you laugh even when you glimpse only the top of his head lurking behind a screen. He is the ultimate valetudinarian.
11. You know it’s a film and understand the point they are trying to make with some steamy flesh on flesh Regency era dirty dancing, but you gasp in horror when the two pillars of Highbury society dance as the only ungloved couple on the floor, then you audibly cry out when Knightley’s bare, possibly sweaty hand is full on pressing the back of Emma’s glorious confection of a ball gown. As fabric authority Mr. Tilney says in Northanger Abbey, “I do not think it will wash well”. I totally needed my smelling salts.
12. You think that Jane Fairfax needs to sport a perpetual pout… yet somehow you understand her depression.
13. You are ready to declare Ford’s shop in Highbury, “the very shop that every body attends every day of their lives”, the most delightful corner of Regency England paradise and possibly want to live there. And buy things. Many, many frilly things.
14. You don’t mind that Frank Churchill comes across as that creepy guy who might just drug you and then sell your puppy on Craigslist.
15. You want to see a proposal go so distractingly pear-shaped that you miss half the dialogue of the scene. No spoilers, but there will be blood.
16. You want very loud folksy hymns to punch in the soundtrack at certain moments and make you wonder why.
17. You want to cheer on Miranda Hart as she incarnates Miss Bates to perfection with impeccable comic timing and great sympathy.
18. You don’t need to like Emma at all to root for her. Jane Austen did write that she is “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”.
19. You think that Harriet Smith and Robert Martin have the sweetest romance.
20. You don’t mind that the girls from Mrs. Goddard’s school look like adorable little handmaids.
21. You will vow to see it again and try to understand some of the directorial choices. But you go with it…
22. You are okay with the fact that John and Isabella Knightley are not the contented couple we know from the book, nor their happiness the reason that underscore’s George Knightley will to propose –-because they are hilarious.
23. You need to see moody, lovestruck Mr. Elton, aka actor Josh O’Connor, work the room in the most wonderful billowing vestment sleeves.
24. You want to silently resolve to form an itinerary for travel to the UK which will include these opulent locations, ChavanageHouse, KingstonBagpuizeHouse, WiltonHouse, and FirlePlace. Perhaps you are a Poldark fan and want to shout, “Hey, that’s Trenwith”! You may also plan to pack a bonnet just because.
25. You adore Jane Austen’s books and will see any film adaptation of her work, because even when things aren’t the way you’d imagined them, you will still, always, find something to love.
Elyse Ashton is an actress, a voracious reader, a sometimes writer, an LA Press Club award-winning co-host of The Anglophile Channel’s Dish shows, a shamelessly enthusiastic historical dancer, an amateur costumier, and a great lover of English literature, her degree in French Literature notwithstanding. She’s a big geeked out fan of Jane Austen and Regency culture.