Book vs Movie vs TV: My Rocky Romance with Austen’s Emma

I have at least five half-baked posts up my sleeve, but the real world has intruded and prevented me from getting any of them actually onto the screen! So to keep you going, enjoy this charming post about one of my favourite authors by one of my favourite author friends! The event erv doom will be over by the end of the weekend, so I hope I’ll be back bright and early next week!

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When I was a teenager, I devoured all of Jane Austen’s books, including Emma. I loved Emma and Mr Knightley, I loved their little town of Highbury, I loved the secondary characters (especially John Knightley), I loved the wit and the honest emotion. I just adored the whole book.


But then something unfortunate happened.

In 1996, two adaptations were released: one was a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, and the other a made-for-TV movie with Kate Beckinsale. The movies were quite different in tone—the Paltrow version had a dusting of Hollywood sparkle, and the Beckinsale version felt a bit more down to Earth—but they had one thing in common. An unpleasant Emma. Actually, make that two things: Mr Knightley was more of a father figure in both.

When I’d been in love with the book, I’d not once seen Emma as unpleasant. Flawed, definitely, but I still wanted to be her…

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