My daughter had her birthday sleepover last night. We went swimming, out to eat, painted nails and watched a movie. The movie was the main event, anticipated greatly by at least one of us.
You see, this was the first time I allowed my daughter to experience Jane Austen. I have protected Jane from the offense of being read by to young-a-girl, of being blown off, misunderstood, or haphazardly compared to any other romantic girl-in-pretty-dress period movie or book that they may have seen or read. I wanted to make sure that Emelie would be old enough to truly appreciate Jane.
I chose Emma, the 2009 BBC version for the movie selection. Emma is the most comedic of Jane Austen’s works, and Emma herself is a very realistic character, with serious flaws, who makes real mistakes. The BBC version of the movie is 4 hours long and stays very true to the novel.
I had a fear that they wouldn’t like it. That they’d think it was boring, slow, old-fashioned or too complex. If that had been the case, I’m not sure what I would have done. Go cry in my room. Offer my kids up for adoption… I just don’t know. But, I didn’t have to find out because they all loved it. (See video at the end of this post) At 11:35, when we were just half way through, they tried to predict the ending, and then insisted that we watch it all the way through, right then, and not wait till morning as was the plan. I obliged and we finally went to bed at 2 AM.
It was worth every minute – listening to them groan at Mr. Elton, feel sorry for poor Harriet, complain about snooty Emma, swoon over Frank Churchill and plead with Mr. Knightley to just “get down on one knee already!”
As Emelie said half way through, “Frank is nice and cute, but he always seems to get Emma into trouble. Then, Mr. Knightley is there to pull her out. I think I like him best.” They were won over 100%. Jane Austen has been successfully passed down to another generation just as she has been for these past 200 years!
“(Jane Austen’s novels) appear to be compact of abject truth. Their events are excruciatingly unimportant; and yet, with Robinson Crusoe, they will probably outlast all Fielding, Scott, George Elliot, Thackeray, and Dickens. The art is so consummate that the secret is hidden; peer at them as hard as one may; shake them; take them apart; one cannot see how it is done.”Thornton Wilder, 1938