Awesome Adaptations: An Awesome Adaptation WITH CORSETS!
Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.
Each week I will be writing about an adaptation of a book that I think is worth seeing and I have challenged myself to come up with suggestions to match a category. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. If you’re playing along, just mention this blog in your post. Let us know what adaptation you’d pick and why it is worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!
If you don’t have a blog yet though you can still play along, just leave your answer in the comments thread for each week’s challenge.
This week’s challenge is to name: An Awesome Adaptation WITH CORSETS!
Adapted From: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Jane Austen wrote some very memorable stories all featuring very strong romances, but my favorite has always been Persuasion. I like it firstly because it features two older and more experience characters, who form an attachment at a young age but are persuaded out of the match. When they meet again their feelings are still there but the rejections and hurt feelings of the past are still haunting them both. I know I love stories in which a romance faces some genuine emotional and otherwise obstacles and I feel the struggles these two go through in order to be together are particularly poignant. This adaptation capture everything that I loved about the original story!
The casting was really well done and Amanda Root really captures the gentle spirit of Anne and shows her as a woman who grows throughout the story in a stronger, more forceful person. I also think Ciaran Hinds does a wonderful job of showing Wentworth as resentful and hurt by Anne’s decision but still very much in love with her.
As well the cinematography is beautiful, the music is gorgeous and in the course of only two hours manages to really capture the spirit of the story. I also want to mention how much I love Sam West as Mr. Elliot, he does a wonderful job of showing him to be both charming and calculating. If you are wanting to watch a wonderfully written, well acted and beautifully filmed romance (with corsets!) this Valentine’s day, I recommend watching this one!
Adapted From: Emma by Jane Austen
In 1996 there were two movie-length versions of Jane Austen’s Emma released. Perhaps the better known was the glossy big screen version that starred Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam but I much prefer the British TV movie that was scripted by Andrew Davies and starred Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong as the two leads.
In part that is because Davies’ script feels closer to the themes and tone of the original novel. Where the Paltrow movie plays out as a light and charming romantic comedy, the Beckinsale version emphasizes some of the darker moments in the novel. Her Emma can be charming, witty and affable but in the course of the story we see her immaturity, poor judgement and vanity. In spite of those faults we still like her and cheer for her but I think we might agree more strongly with Mr. Knightley’s criticisms of her behavior, particularly following a scene that takes place at a picnic in which Emma ridicules a poor elderly lady with her friends.
I also think it helps that this version is incredibly well cast, not only in the leading parts but in the supporting parts as well. I really like Mark Strong’s performance as Knightley, appreciating his plain-spoken practicality which contrasts wonderfully with Beckinsale’s daydreaming. The pair feel like absolute opposites but have fantastic chemistry together, particularly as they bicker before discovering their feelings for one another.
Elsewhere Samantha Morton is amazing as Harriet, managing to portray the shifts in her character and attitude as Emma begins to influence her, while Olivia Williams fits the part of the appealing Jane Fairfax perfectly and Raymond Coulthard’s Frank looks every bit as romantic and dashing as Emma imagines him to be.
If you’ve never seen this version of Emma I do heartily recommend it. While it focuses on the dramatic more than the comedic elements, I find it all the more entertaining and engaging for that and think it hits all the right notes at the end.
So those are our choices, how about yours? Link to your blog post in the comments below and let us know what you’d pick.
Next week we’ll pick an An Awesomely (Jacob and Wilhelm) Grimm Adaptation. Check out the schedule for the rest of the year here.