It's been a roller-coaster weekend for me anticipating Emma 2009, readers. Last week I began re-reading Emma and got really excited by how funny and witty and brilliant the book is and that pumped me up for tonight. Then today I read a bunch of commenters all over the internets really trashing the adaptation and my heady anticipation took a hit.
It's confusing--Sandy Welch's adaptations (North and South and 2006's Jane Eyre) are two of the best in the last five years, so she seems the obvious choice to screenwrite. Romola Garai's Gwendolyn Harleth in Daniel Deronda is like another side of Emma Woodhouse--shallow-rich 19th century woman played as tragic instead of comic. So again, good choice in casting. I thought Johnny Lee Miller was a fine choice for Knightley, and obviously Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse is less inspired than mandatory.
Still, sometimes the right ingredients don't add up to the perfect meal. So there's nothing to do but wait and see. I'm going to keep an open mind and try to enjoy the adaptation for its own sake (even as I re-read the book just so I can get angry about more discrepancies--but there's fun in that, there is!). I'll be joining the twitter conversation as this adaptation airs--hastags #Emma_pbs and #emma.
Also, I wrote a little blog post at Speakeasy about how Clueless is my favorite Emma adaptation and how hard it is to top Alicia Silverstone's charm when casting an Emma character. Head over there and check it out and prove that Austen fatigue hasn't hit the internets.
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