Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, where we discuss the wonderful world of motion pictures. Come here to discuss new movies in theaters, old classics, or any thoughts you’ve had about the world of film!
This week, Anya Taylor-Joy is the latest to step in the shoes of Emma, a novel from celebrated British author Jane Austen.
Taylor-Joy is hardly the first to play Emma Woodhouse. The character had once been played by Gwyneth Paltrow in a 1996 adaptation. However, the most beloved version may be the one that came out a year prior.
Amy Heckerling’s Clueless celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Emma Woodhouse is now Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone), a social teen who’s far more clever than how she initial appears. Like Emma, Cher doesn’t want to get tied down to any relationship but loves to play matchmaker to others (including meddling with a scene-stealing Wallace Shawn).
Heckerling proved to have her finger on the pulse of teen culture a decade ago when she directed Fast Times at Richmond High. She proves that she lost none of her wit in directing what is likely the defining teen movie of the 1990’s.
Moreso than the stories themselves, “Jane Austen” is about embodying an attitude. It’s about remaining cool under pressure even as your whole world is falling apart around you. It’s about being strong-willed, respected, and influential in a society that isn’t constructed to value such things. Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, and Emma Woodhouse endure as characters because they are bold. Even when they are wrong, it’s not something that defeats them. It’s a learning experience that just informs them when the next situation arises. Their boldness is not a problem either. It’s the opposite. It’s why the other characters and Jane Austen fans admire them so.
Today’s bonus prompt: What is your favorite adaptation of a Jane Austen story or film about Jane Austen or her book clubs?
If you want to cite Hallmark movies, I won’t stop you… but I doubt you’ll do that. Not when there’s an Ang Lee directed adaptation of Sense & Sensibility (also celebrating its 25th anniversary, 1995 was a banner year for Jane Austen), Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bride and Prejudice, a Kiera Knightley film, and … sigh … Pride & Prejudice & Zombies at your discretion.