Monday, September 13, 2010

Dear Mr. Knightley

Last night my family and I watched again BBC's newest adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. I know this adaptation has it's faults but I really love it, in fact I think it's my favorite Emma adaptation now. There are so many lovely features: costumes, scenes, dances, actors, and a script that leaves very little of original story out!

My family and I enjoyed watching it immensely (it was my 5th time viewing it)! We particularly enjoyed Johnny Lee Miller's performance as Mr. Knightley. And I must say I am "falling in love" with Jane Austen's wonderful mature hero of Emma like never before!

Because I not too long ago made a great many screencap banners (with words, from Emma) I decided the rest of this post will be devoted to these banners and the various things that occurred to me while watching Emma last night.

Mr. Knightley lives so close to Hartfield that he walks over almost every day! He also frequently advises Mr. Woodhouse on buisness and stays to dinner. He comes and goes at all respectable hours and doesn't hesitate to use side doors. It's no wonder Emma thinks of him as an older brother and not a possible husband.

In this version of Emma, Mr. Knightley even has his own chair to pull up by the fire! He also is very at home using their ink and paper to write letters.

Mr. Knightley is such a gentleman and a kind caring friend to everyone and especially to Emma. He's so kind and attentive, so courteous and yet very practical. He is the very best friend anyone could wish for!

But Mr. Knightley also has a very good buisness head on his shoulders. He has done very well with the estate of Donwell Abbey, his farms and land yield abundantly. Mr. Knightley is definitely more at home talking crop rotations with his tenants than dancing in the finest London drawing rooms!

It occurred to me that since Donwell Abbey is so close to the town of Highbury and since the Knightleys are the richest and most prominent family around that Mr. Knightley must be the chief employer of Highbury's vicar. Then I remembered that in the book Mr. Knightley meets with Mr. Elton frequently on parish business. So really far from being Mr. E's "my friend Knightley" he is actually Mr. Elton's boss in every sense of the word!

Since the Knightley family are the chief employers of the vicar it popped into my head that Mrs. Bates' descended husband and Miss Bates' father (and Jane Fairfax's grandfather) was the former Reverend of Highbury. Mr. Knightley's kind attentions are directed toward these two ladies because he is kind, but also because he feels a responsibility to help them since his family has helped support them for years! He is always bring them gifts of food and acting on their behalf with business and letting them use his carriage when he sees the need. What a gentleman!!!

Mr. Knightley realizes he loves Emma almost as soon as Frank Churchill starts showing attentions to her. But he is quiet about his love for her and allows her to make her own choice.
"Brother and sister, no indeed!" is the one phrase not included in this adaptation that I miss the most!

My favorite scene in this film is definitely the proposal scene! It's full of lovely confessions and sweet moments.

Below are some banners with screencaps from this proposal scene:

Smoldering looks that just melt the heart! What a silly fan girl I've become! :)

The biggest illustration of Mr. Knightley's love for Emma is his willingness to relocate from his bachelor's pad, his ancestral pile of Donwell Abbey to the more confined and feminine Hartfield. He's has the perfect kind temperament to live in the same house with Mr. Woodhouse day in and day out.

I love that in this film the outward affections are very gentle and tender. Mr. Knightley is content just to hold Emma's hand in his, happy that her heart now belongs to him.

There's only a few other literary heroes who deserve happiness more than dear Mr. Knightley!

What are your thoughts on Mr. Knightley? Did you like this adaptation of Emma? Who are your favorite Jane Austen heroes?

Hope this silly post brightens you day! Sorry for posting so many banners, I just had too much fun making them! :)


Edwardian Rose said...

Ha! I've only seen this Emma once, but I'd like to see it again. My family and I enjoyed it a lot, too! And Mr. Knightley's my fave Austen hero and fave literary hero period. :) Fun post and great banners!

~Rachel S.

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Thanks! I had a lot of fun with this post! Mr. Knightley has never been my favorite Austen hero but I like him more and more now. :)

Elinor Dashwood/Melanie said...

I absolutely ADORE this version of "Emma" and am totally in love with Mr. Knightly!!!!! My friends and I joke around about our "Knightly fan club" and pretend to shun anyone who doesn't like Mr. Knightly. ;-) I'd rather have him than Mr. Darcy any day, personally. :-)

I love your banners; I think I might make one of them my computer desktop. :-D

Susannah said...

I just watched this adaptation for the second time last night... and loved it more than ever. :-) Mr. Knightley is TO DIE FOR, and even though I'm not a huge fan of Johnny Lee Miller's appearance, I have to admit he did an excellent job.

Charity U said...

I love this version, have seen it four times. :) Mr. Darcy is my alltime favorite JA hero, but Mr. K is a close second. Love the banners!

Melody said...

I love that movie! It's my favorite Emma, and I've liked it more each time I watched it, which is 6 times, I do believe. It was fun reading your post and looking at the pictures. =) My sister and I agree that they should not re-upholster that chair, it is much too nice.

As to Mr. Knightly...I don't think he's my favorite J.A. hero, but I do like him. But I'm not sure if I would personally be able to bear his lectures & scoldings very well...;-)

Anonymous said...

I love the 2009 version of Emma almost solely because JLM is the absolute zenith of perfection as Mr. Knightley. He has always been my favourite JA hero, not because of the beautiful movies made but because of his strength of character, maturity and goodness as written by JA. He is everything I think a good man should be and can be. As a bonus,in this movie, He's also so beautiful to look at it makes my heart hurt but more than that, he's such a good and tender "real man" that is a true friend to Emma. He speaks for right and is firm when he must be but also is tender and gentle and understands and appreciates Emma for her youthful zest and he sees her potential to become the truly worthy woman he wishes to be his lifemate. His uprightness motivates Emma to want to be "a far better woman...and not half so conceited". Emma truly learns to grow and become a better person through his guidance and she learns from him how to admit her wrongdoing and make amends. She knows that she needs a restraining influence once in a while and she always turns to Mr. Knightley because she knows she can count on him to help her see herself as she really is, even though it is momentarily painful for her. She realizes that incessant praise is not good for her own character and seeks balance by leaning on Mr. Knightley's honest and valid opinons to regulate her own behavior. His advice is always attended to and adopted after she has contemplated it for a while.
We could all use a Mr. Knightley with such unerring good judgment to set us right when we mess up but love us as "faultless in spite of all our faults" anyway. Did I mention that JLM is drop-dead gorgeous? And the subtlty of his facial expressions! I find it more interesting to watch his reactions and facial expressions than anything else in the movie. I find when I watch the DVD over and over, I'm watching it as Mr. Knightley's story. I see it as a case of the 'nice guy does get the girl'. I'm less interested in Emma's developmental story and more interested in Mr. Knightley, the quiet stalwart rock of Emma's life being rewarded for his integrity as a valueable and trustworthy man. It's fascinating to discern the thoughts and feelings of the strongest most emotionally balanced character in the book. Mr. Knightley is the glue that holds all the other characters securely in their places. He is the Sun to their planets. All the residents' lives of Highbury and environs all depend and revolve around the unobstrusive strength and quiet stability of Mr. Knightley. It's an example of the strength of character that can provide societal stability and harmony. As an actor, JLM brings to life an admirable man in Mr. Knightley, who by his very quietness, moves mountains. I realize he is a fictional creation but I think he epitomizes all the good and real qualities of the ideal man. Good men are often overlooked as too boring in our 'glammed-up' society. I will alwyas swoon for Mr. Knightley, my hero.

Melody said...

This post is SO much fun, would it be all right if I linked back to it on my blog? (I'm doing an Emma movie post today)

Ahh, I misspelled 'Knighley' up there! I'm so ashamed. haha ;-)

Miss Laurie said...

That's perfectly fine Melody, go ahead and link back to this post. I'd be honored if you would! :)

~Miss Laurie
Old-Fashioned Charm

Miss Dashwood said...

Ooh, I loved this post! (I know I'm ridiculously late in commenting, but better late than never, right?) Mr. Knightley is so... well, knightly. True gentleman in every sense of the word! I agree with you about his tenderness towards Emma--one of my favorite things about that miniseries is that they didn't feel the need to go for swoony, passionate kisses. It was just sweetness and gentleness, and the proposal scene was perfection!
Loved it! Thank you!
P.S. Oh, and the "peekaboo" picture made me laugh out loud. :)

Anonymous said...

I love this adaptation of Emma! It's my favorite.... And Jonny Lee Miller is my absolute favorite Mr. Knightley! I really like your banners! They're lovely. I realize this is an older post, but this is my first time seeing it, so thank you! :)

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