Some of you—the two or three of you who paid attention in English class—may
have heard of Jane Austen. She wrote books a long time ago—books about confused girls
who try to answer all the difficult questions in life while they go to parties in fancy
ballrooms and get rescued from almost-certain frock-soiling by kind, young gentlemen.
And, in the end, they all live happily ever after.
Emma is a Jane
For those of you who don’t remember English class, let me
try another angle. Remember the Alicia Silverstone movie, Clueless? It was based
on Emma (somewhat loosely, however—Emma doesn't take place in California,
and Emma Woodhouse never once says, "Whatever.").
Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth
Paltrow) is a wealthy young woman who lives with her widowed father and spends her time
chatting with friends, visiting the neighbors, and painting. When she meets Harriet
Smith (Toni Collette), a poor orphaned girl, Emma takes it upon herself to take Harriet
under her wing—and to find her the perfect husband.
Poor Harriet has no
idea what she’s getting herself into as Emma encourages her to aim her affections at
vicars and noblemen—and away from the farmer whom she really loves. Meanwhile, Emma
finds herself in all kinds of strange and frustrating romantic
Will the two ever find true happiness? Of course they will!
This is Jane Austen!
Don’t get me wrong—I love this movie. I loved the
book, too. It’s just so optimistically cheery. Of course, I don’t know of a single man
who’s watched this movie without a gun somewhere near his head (or without being told
that it’s really an action comedy)—but women love it. It’s a great Girls’ Night
movie—one that will make you stupidly happy in the end.
Oh, yes. And it’s
best accompanied by chocolate ice cream.