Woodhouse Can Go Walkies

Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in Emma (1996)

Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) is an out going young woman who sees herself as an expert matchmaker, meddling in the relationships of those close to her even if some people disagree with those she attempts to match up. Despite Emma's belief she understands love, relationships and romance she is oblivious to her relationship with the patient Mr. Knightley (Jeremy Northam).

I had started to think that maybe I was wrong when it came to costume dramas adapted from classic literature as having long felt they were not for me I watch a few which I actually enjoyed. But then I watched the 1996 version of "Emma" with a feeling that this could be one I would enjoy with its familiar cast including the wonderful Toni Collette only to end up bored senseless and knocked back a few steps when it comes to whether or not I will watch another.

Interestingly the actual "Emma" storyline is not the problem and I enjoyed the update of it in the 1995 movie "Clueless". So my issue is simply the classic dramatization which despite trying to be light and fun often ends up a bore for trying to still have the classic style. Basically the attempt to do light but have stiff styling does not work together for me and that means that quite quickly "Emma" was struggling to keep hold of my attention. This is not helped by what I can only presume is using the dialogue from the original story as the actors end up feeling like they are reciting their lines but not meaning what they are saying.

On the subject of the actors it is not all bad as the likes of Alan Cumming and Toni Collette manage to bring the humour of their dialogue to life with their mannerisms. But for me others such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam are just delivering the lines rather than truly making their characters come to life. I know that is opposite of many opinions but it just didn't flow for me.

What this all boils down to is that "Emma" ended up another costume drama which set me back in my ability to watch this genre of movies. To me it just didn't come to life and felt too much like I was watching actors delivering the words but not really the characters.

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