Monday, January 15, 2007

January 15th Log

1996, Douglas McGrath, United Kingdom / United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Continuing with my month of Jane Austen adaptations is Douglas McGrath’s charming update of Emma. Most of the charm comes from a radiant performance by the wonderful Gwyneth Paltrow. However, McGrath gives the film a liveliness that makes it funny, romantic, and assessable for all generations and audiences. Really one of the great qualities of Austen is the universal nature of her stories, characters, and themes that transcend period details and become equally worthy modern tales and emotions. Emma is Austen at her most light-hearted and fun. The visual, of which include soothing colors and impressive sets give the film a magical tone. Of course casting the magical spell is Paltrow’s lovely performance. This is an adaptation that focuses on it’s characters and the performances help contribute to the success of that focus. Paltrow is especially terrific and she really gives one of the most under-appreciated performances of the decade.


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