The first trailer for the upcoming Emma adaptation dropped today, and I have thoughts! If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it here:
So right off the bat, spot-on casting of Miss Bates. Miranda Hart, 100%, absolutely, done and done.
I also love the casting of Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse. I do wonder if he’s a little too sardonic and spry for Emma’s hypochondriac, never-gets-the-joke dad. But I’m pretty optimistic.
What other casting choices do we like? I’m not as familiar with the work of most of the other actors, but I will say Anya Taylor-Joy absolutely looks the part for Emma. You can see the intelligence and mischief in her face, so necessary for this character. You just know she’s hatching some scheme behind that sly smile.
Something else I love right away: the #aesthetic. This poster in particular with its very stylized overall look is so interesting to me. The painted backdrop, the fairly obviously fake plants, even Emma’s somewhat stiff and artful pose, all suggest an exhibit in a natural history museum, perhaps communicating that this is a film about people whose lives are constantly on display and open to public viewing. But then Emma’s facial expression tells another side of the story: she is very aware that she is an object of public scrutiny, but she refuses to be intimidated, and even revels in the attention.
I also love the stylized nature of the filmmaking itself, at least as shown in the trailer. Someone in one of my many online Jane Austen discussion forums pointed out that the style of the trailer suggests a Jane Austen film by way of The Favourite, which honestly, I would be totally game for. I loved The Favourite, especially for all those stylistic elements it showcased, and I think that style lends itself well to the biting wit and sarcasm and absurdity in Emma. The film Love and Friendship, based on a work of Austen’s Juvenilia, actually had some stylistic similarities to The Favourite, so I think it could work well.
If I have a qualm at all, it’s about the casting of Mr. Knightly. I’m not 100% on board with this actor. But, I wasn’t at all on board with Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice until about halfway through my first viewing of the movie. So I’ll give it a chance.
Overall, I am pretty excited for this film. I’ve loved every Emma adaptation that’s been made in the past 25 years, especially Clueless, and even Emma Approved, all for different reasons. And I’m prepared to love this one. I’m very ready to be pleased, much like the Misses Bertram.
What about you? Are you excited for the new Emma? What are your thoughts on the trailer that was just released? Let me know in the comments!
More Jane Austen thoughts:
My Seven Top Five Literary Webseries (which includes three Austen adaptations!)
Dreamcasting Some of My Favorite Classics (in which I put together my dreamcast for Pride & Prejudice)