Channeling Miss Bates to Share My Every Thought About Emma

Channeling Miss Bates to Share My Every Thought About Emma

So, Jane Austen has dominated my quarantine, and I absolutely can’t complain! I have been reading beloved Austen works and JAFF, working on my own WIP, and indulging in my favorite adaptations. Most recently, I watched the new Emma with family, and I have to say: WOW!

I will admit, I was skeptical going into it. My initial fear was that I wouldn’t like this Emma Woodhouse – the pictures released leading up to the film had me worried that she would be too snobbish, or perhaps too modern. I really never did much like Emma, and only the Romola Garai adaptation opened me up to seeing Emma as a relatable person a heart beneath all her folly – I went into this viewing dubious that such a feat could be repeated, and had all my expectations completely blown away!

The visuals are completely sumptuous – for those of you who have not yet seen it, think Austen meets Wes Anderson. Everything about this movie is just so deliberate, from the intricate and elegantly composed scene framing to the perfectly choreographed blocking and movement – and the STELLAR cast. Even as I write this I am treating myself to a second viewing, and am seeing more exquisite detail I missed the first time around.

For those of you not yet convinced to GO WATCH THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW, I present the following list of first impressions, composed stream-of-consciousness style as I view, all of which are excellent reasons why this masterpiece is just what Doctor Perry prescribes….


Everything in that greenhouse is so perfect it’s almost edible. But no – not that one.

I love, love, love the bridal imagery around Emma taking Miss Taylor her bouquet.


Bill Nighy. Yes. This is why I’m here.

Cutest carriage interior ever!

“Surrounded by blessings” – including this cast!!

Is Emma really expecting Frank to just pop out of the corner in disguise?

LOL Elton – that wink. That face.

Yes, innocence….

I see you Mr. Woodhouse, giving that wedding cake the stink eye….

Knightley butt! Knew it was coming, but didn’t expect it so SOON.

I do love a good, crisp cravat.

OK, Donwell is gorgeous and the ceiling is incredible, but too soon to appreciate anything but that booty.

Donwell’s housekeeper is called Mrs. Reynolds!

Emma acting like she was practicing the piano this whole time, and doesn’t get any praise for it

“Terrible day” for Mr. W but that coat is WONDERFUL!

Oof Knightley jumpin’ into the Churchill shade already!

I low-key love the footmen! I’ve never seen the servants have such a presence in an adaptation, but it’s perfect!

“A chill and sickly draft” OK can we just have a movie that’s nothing but Bill Nighy as every Austen character?

When your bestie is dissing your crush: eat all the cookies.

Harriet no bb! That is NOT the right reaction to a man making THAT face

I love all these sets, I mean I would even live at the Haberdasher’s!

Miss Bates’ unabashed peepin’ & creepin’ is an inspiration to us all

Emma’s disappointment at Jane Fairfax not drowning – I see you bb

Was unsure of Harriet at first but when Emma disses Robert Martin (straight hottie) Harriet’s disappointment Won. Me. Over.

Mia Goth must be a Monty Python fan b/c she is all silly walks only and I appreciate that

That little Knightley “Ugh”


Poor Emma needs some Bob Ross in her life.

Harriet is a snaaaccccccck

I appreciate the imagery of Emma up on that little platform when Harriet brings the letter.

And all the imagery. And everything about how this was filmed.

Oh God why, now Harriet is smiling like Mr. Elton!

THAT FRAME OMG! Somehow, I simultaneously relate to both Elton’s reaction and Woodhouse’s reaction.


“The sea is rarely of use to anybody – it nearly killed me once.” Would love to see Mr. Woodhouse debate Mrs. Bennet on this.

That baby was such a sweet moment – and then….

Yikes. Isabella. Why??

Hahaha, cheeky secret LOLs

Even the music is perfect. THIS MOVIE IS PERFECT.

“I will transcribe it for you” – okay, this Emma Woodhouse has officially won me over.

Mr. Weston is such a jolly cutie pie.

And Elton is a maximum creeper!

Emma’s Christmas dress! Bling bling, bb

I, too, am “so much overpowered” by these savage Knightley burns. Yasssss.

Can they give an Oscar for Best Supporting Chandelier?

Elton has ruined soup for me.


Okay, how drunk is Elton?

Emma channeling the “I’ve made a huge mistake” energy with that rapid eye movement! Love it!

Bullet pudding! I wrote this into my first novel, and so excited to see a visual!

Another part I think the trailer lent a different feel to. Emma isn’t so much judging Harriet for being silly in playing the game, but she feels all the contrast of Harriet’s levity before the bad news is delivered.


I legit feel sorry for John Knightley.

Emma is also pretty cute with her dad, and I’m really glad this film captured that.

“Enough about Mr. Elton” – totally a cute moment. Also, great context for Emma’s sassy window-opening moment from the movie trailer. Knowing Miss Bates was ruining a really sweet friendship moment makes it vibe a lot different.

“SAMPLE THE TART!” Miranda Hart, you complete me.

Is that a stag coming out of the cake? And WTF is in Emma’s hair? So many questions!

I love Harriet low-key giggling back there all through Emma’s pianoforte performance.

Ok, yep, 1000% relate to Emma’s dislike of Jane Fairfax.

…And literally everyone in the piano scene.

Mr. Knightley, please whisper in my ear like that all day long.

Robert Martin’s break-up smolder is a MOOD.

Now kiiiiiisssssss!

I am so confused by whether or not Frank Churchill is hot, like every new angle makes me reconsider and question everything.

Hahahaha Mr. & Mrs. Weston scheming on Frank and Emma is adorable.

“The felicities of rapid motion” IDK why that made me LOL so hard….

Why are there so many chairs???

Knightley looks SO offended by the comparison between Donwell and Enscombe

Literally everything about his reaction to Frank is precious.

Mrs. Weston’s facial expressions at the Cole’s party OMG GIRL I KNOW

Mr. Knightley! The violin! *Drool*

I absolutely am 100% here for this Emma being so self-aware, and her feelings for Knightley creeping up so soon.

Everyone in that church scene needs and Oscar for getting through it without laughing!

Mrs. Elton no bb don’t you have a mirror at home?

Tea drinking to convey emotions is absolutely an accomplishment.


Me: I can’t stand Mrs. Elton

2 seconds later when she slaps Elton’s hand: I LOVE YOU MY QUEEN

Another two seconds later, caro sposo: Please shut up forever


Bestie love, I love it!

A horror of finery? Really? REALLY??

Honestly, someone just give Mr. Weston a big ole teddy bear hug.

Did Mrs. Elton just give Mr. Weston a flirty shoulder shimmy?

WTF, Elton? Trouble in paradise already?

Okay, this might legit be the best dance sequence ever.

Hand touches just leveled up.

If they were trying to make this dance steamier than Darcy and Lizzy at Netherfield, they won!!

OMG NO that carriage pulling away….


Harriet noooooo…..

Stop. Whining. You. Spaz.

Such delicious awkwardness!

“Is she alive?” Oh Mr. Woodhouse LOL marry me

Knightley on the floor OMG I feel that. The last 5 minutes really put me through something.

I’m not sure why Mr. W is weirdly offended by that painting, but I love his subtle humor sooo much.

I love the statues – am I the only one who thinks it a subtle nod to P&P ’05?

Someone please slap Frank Churchill for leaning on that statue.

Uggggh I love how much Frank is making me hate him.

Elton just keeps falling asleep!

Perfection. Amazing juxtaposition.

Box Hill is so beautifully cringey!

Is it just me or is Knightley yelling at Emma and her crying at least 50% sexual frustration?

Emma’s walk of shame up those stairs….

Probably not what I should be getting out of this scene but I LOVE Emma’s bedroom!

LOL Mr. Weston basically admitting everyone though Mrs. Churchill was a big faker!

“I refused Robert Martin because of you.” Ouch. *starts singing Truth Hurts*

I, too, will be wandering the countryside weeping until someone who looks like THAT in a cravat and breeches comes for me.

I will hear no complaints on the nosebleed because it’s brilliant and I love it.

Yasss girl! Sisters before misters!

Ok, next time I offend someone I am just going to give them a basket.

The portrait! Nicely done.

Mr. W and those screens again! Wingman AF.

Isabella is even mad at the wedding? Like why???

The symmetry of the opening shot and closing shot: Yep.  Perfection.


Well, dear readers, I hope I have convinced you to go (or stay in) and see what might be the best Austen adaptation in a generation. It was many things, but there was one thing it wasn’t: Badly done, indeed!

21 Responses to Channeling Miss Bates to Share My Every Thought About Emma

  1. I had some reservations about whether I would like this adaptation but everything I’ve seen so far makes me believe I will love it. Look forward to watching it!

  2. I do so want to see it and Bill Nighy would be the main reason! Then the sets and costuming…gorgeous! I will have to wait to see it on DVD which can be pre-ordered from the BBC website. All theatres are closed here. So I will have to review the pictures on your post again and again along with the witty commentary! I actually checked amazon to see if you had a new book out yet. Unfortunately, disappointed but ever hopeful! Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay sane! And read lots of Austenesque novels!!!

    • Thanks Carole! Bill Nighy was a big draw for me going into this, even I. The trailer I felt he stole the show. So sorry you will have to wait to see it, I hope the DVD release is moved up as well. I will definitely be purchasing this to watch again often.

      I do have a new book in the works, and am aiming for a release in the second half of next month, so stay tuned. If you are a member of A Happy Assembly, you can read the chapter posts there, it is a Mansfield Park/ Sense & Sensibility crossover with lots of intrigue and hilarity, as usual.

      Stay safe and sane too Carole!

  3. This post was hilarious. I had sworn off watching the movie but your pictures of those lovely sets just may have convinced me to watch it. I don’t think I like you for making me change my mind. Nope, a friend would have respected my desire to refuse to watch it. Now you have done it. I will seriously have to reconsider our friendship. Maybe after I watch the film. Thanks to this pose, I will have your running commentary in my head as I watch it. LOL!! What fun. Maybe our friendship will stand after all.

    • JW, my friend! I think you will be glad for having watched the film, there are lots of laughs and lots of juicy visuals to take int. And now I can look forward tot your reactions!

  4. I am planning to see it eventually but I am waiting to get it from my library when it reopens because I already have a copy of the DVD placed on hold for when they get it. I personally enjoyed a few of the previous versions of the movie. I have been doing a lot of reading (8 JAFF so far) while staying in.

    Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe!

    • Wow, Chelsea, that’s a lot of JAFF you have read!

      Like you, I’ve seen the other variations and found something to like in them all, but this one definitely had me swooning the most.

  5. It wasn’t my cup of tea but you obviously loved it. Every time I saw Mr Elton on the screen all I could think of was Uriah Heap from Dickens!!!!!

    • I have never see that actor in anything else before; I think now when I do, I will just be picturing Elton and his ridiculous smirking. I have to respect actors who can make you want to just slap their characters!

  6. This is the first version of Emma that I feel has really captured the snobbishness and narcissism of Emma Woodhouse. It isn’t her fault but she really is unpleasant, and allowed to get away with it by all by Mr K. That’s how the book was written. The whole point of it is that Emma learns the truth the hard way, and gains true self-knowledge.
    Like you, I loved the sets, Bill Nigh and Miranda Hart’s Miss Bates – I’d have liked more of both.
    Thank you for your post.

    • I really did get the feel that Emma had grown by the end, and I liked that. I was a bit disappointed at her “apology” to Miss Bates, which to me felt more as though Miss Bates was trying to convince herself that she ought not to have ever been offended – but then when Emma speaks to Robert Martin, it comes full circle and she gives the right kind of apology.

  7. Your post was wonderful! I would love to see the movie as you have now peaked my curiousity! I don’t know how I am going to do it though. Any suggestions? I don’t think it is on DVD yet is it?

      • I think I saw it available to rent from Amazon Prime for $20. That is just too expensive for renting a movie for me. For that price I would need to own it and even then I would hesitate.

        • As far as I know, Amazon is the only way to watch it for now. The $20 is something I would have balked at it if were just me, too. I was fortunate in watching it with family, and between all the family members either watching it together or sharing passwords, it was basically the equivalent of 8 movie tickets for $20 (2 of which were me).

  8. Love your post! Still deciding whether I’ll be seeing this version.
    Stay safe everyone – practice social distancing!

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