Monday, December 29, 2014

All Jane Austen part 1

Okay so after my post this morning, I started feeling like I should at lest get one post in for Emma before the month is up.  I may or may not get back around to it later in the year...I sort of want to do one book a month.
Emma:  Clueless version

Plot: a high school student takes it upon herself to play match maker for those around her, given that she herself has decided not to marry. She soon finds she's not always right as she falls in love with one of her closest friends.

This is a 1995 movie starring Alicia Silverstone, and Paul Rudd.

Back in 2009 I had been part of an all Jane Austen online group, and Clueless was one of the movies I decided to talk about on my old book review blog Pencil-Pushers and Ink-Splotches. Here is a few lines from that
1) regency style clothes and the use of high empire waist dresses, corset cut tops, hats, feathered collars/cuffs  2) the switch up of the Frank Churchill character, in this case Christian, whom they made a gay character removing the secret girlfriend-Jane Fairfax. This let them have him flirt without being a total baddie that so many view him as.  3) the use of the Mr. Martin character who was a farmer in the book becoming a pot smoking/drug dealer addicted to martian cartoons. And Tai of course being the Miss Smith character.

And now for the new notes... the Elton character isn't changed much in this modern version (strange calling something that is 20 years old the "modern" version) The character is still thinking of his status in the group and how a token girlfriend will look on his arm. As in the book, the character of Mr. Elton marries for status, money and you can tell regrets his impulsive decision.
Cher, the Emma character, still spends most of the story trying to play matchmaker thinking she knows better then anyone around her what is good for them. For all her good heartedness, she's blind to her own ambition.
Josh, the Mr. Knightley character, in this case seems to dumb down mid-way through the film. He starts off as this much wiser character who by the end of the film, is on the same level as the girls. 

What this film deals with is hope, pride, innocent betrayal of trust, and first love. Which, is pretty much keeping to the original book's plot.
The Miss Bates character in the novel, isn't really represented. Though, you can see a slight trace of her in other characters, such as the female teacher they help set up in the beginning of the film. With the movie dropping the whole Jane Fairfax sub-plot/character, the use of Miss Bates who introduces her to Emma's circle, wouldn't necessarily be needed. (Miss Bates is one of my favourite characters in the 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow version)

What stands out in this story's plot, be it the original book or any of the movie versions, is that Emma is the only Jane Austen lead who doesn't need to be married. She's independently wealthy, giving her the opportunity to put all her focus outside of herself. When in the end, she realizes how shallow and careless she's been with her attentions.
Why do we like the character of Emma when she's so clearly a snob and a half? Because like all of Austen's works, we see ourselves as a society mirrored back at us. And there isn't a story that rings more true in today's society, with our lust for the limelight. And you have to remember, it's 200 years since this novel was first published.  Jane Austen set off to write a story where no one liked the heroine. It was almost an inside joke, pointing out the general view most people had and exposing their biggest faults.

Till next time.

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