And it was really good.
The casting is awesome, the costumes are incredible, the music is amazing, the cinematography is gorgeous. I wish it had been about half an hour longer because some of the subplots were truncated to the point that it seemed almost like they accomplished nothing by being there and that could have been remedied by just a few more scenes to explain what was going on. But the core story of Emma and Mr Knightley was really, really well done, particularly because the actors were spot on. They've gone for a much more true to the book, less likeable Emma, and there were a few minor plot deviations that I felt developed her character a bit better given the limited time we have in film format. I always like new adaptations because I find it fascinating how people interpret things differently and Johnny Flynn's Mr Knightley is a bit of different take than I've seen before (a little less wry and a bit more repressed), and the way he played some of Knightley's iconic scenes made me go 'oh, that makes a lot of sense why he was behaving that particular way'.
Some other minor thoughts:
- Miranda Hart was born to play Miss Bates and managed to both make me laugh and break my heart
- Rupert Graves deserved way more screentime as a delightfully affable Mr Weston. He was adorable.
- Really, the whole cast needed more time. I would have loved to see this cast in a mini-series format adaptation.
- Johnny Flynn's closing credit song just makes my indie-bluegrass-Appalachian folk loving soul very happy.
- Also, evidently, he and the actress playing Jane Fairfax did their own singing and instrument playing in the movie, which is impressive. Especially Jane's actress, who had to do some really hard piano stuff.
- There were a lot of scenes with servants helping people undress. Like, a ridiculous number of scenes with servants pulling socks off people. I...don't know what that was about. However, Hartfield's long-suffering pair of servants made me lol.
Anywhoodle, I know $20 is a lot of money for a rental, and though it was worth it for me, if you aren't hardcore into Jane Austen stuff, I might recommend waiting until it gets on Netflix or is cheaper in the future. It is a happy watch if you're looking for something, though.