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Sunday, September 13

Jane Austen Movie Throwdown

Kate Beckinsale's Emma entertaining the new Mrs. Elton and Harriet Smith

Gwynneth Paltrow's Emma in carriage
Costumes are one of the main reasons why I love period movies. They can make or break one's enjoyment of the film. Take Emma, for example. These two films were made in the same year - 1996. They followed the same Jane Austen story but took two different approaches to dressing the heroine. The clothes worn by the cast of Emma, starring Kate Beckinsale and written by Andrew Davie, were earth colored. The fabrics of velvet and satin looked heavy, but the costumes were well made and their details of pleats and sleeves breathtaking. But in my humble opinion, Kate wears some of the ugliest hats ever devised for a young heroine. (Please feel free to disagree.)

Other costumes in Kate's Emma

Gwynneth's Emma, while she looked lovely and elegant, seemed a tad too modern. Her gowns and hair reminds one more of the updo's and baby doll empire gowns popular in the 1960's. Gwynneth's Emma wore light pastel colored muslins and the details of her gowns were minimal at best. In fact I left the movie feeling that I could have made a few of those dresses myself.

Right: Gwynneth's Emma in muslin gown.
Left: Back of dresses, Kate's Emma

Our question for you this week is: which movie's costumes do you think fits the plot and characters best? Which film is enhanced by the costumes?

Which Movie's Costumes Fit the Plot and Character of Emma Best?

Two images below & at right: Gwynneth's Emma

Below: Mr. Knightley and Mr. Weston in Kate's Emma

Gwyneth's Emma with Mrs. Weston free polls
These costumes fit the plot and character of Emma
Kate Beckinsale's Emma Gwynneth Paltrow's Emma


becca said...

I thought Kate's hats were awful too but I loved the richness of the costumes. Gwyneth's film was more romantic and I think the costumes contributed to that feeling. This was a hard choice. In the end, thinking of all the characters in both films, like Mr. Woodhouse and Robert Martin, the farmer, I have to vote for Kate's Emma.

Linda said...

I never like Gwynneth's version, maybe it the wardrobe. Linda

Dorothy Willis said...

I don't like either movie, but the costumes were better in Kate's.


nigel said...

I have been to a Jane Austen Ball, which featured the dances from the Paltrow movie. The effort people put into making their dresses is amazing.

But somehow I think the Guess jeans girl is attired in a more sensible manner. However my girl friends say they feel very sexy wearing Jane Austen style clothes.

Patricia Barraclough said...

I voted for Kate's costuming, because it felt more accurate to the period. They have a richness of detail. However, the color and stylishness of Gwynneth's clothes was far more appealing. You are right about the hats, but they are probably very representative of what was worn in that time period. I prefer my movies to be as accurate as possible in the details of clothing, behavior, furniture, etc.

ChaChaneen said...

Hands down for me the Kate version. BBC did a great job with production and the accents were authentic. Lurve this movie!

Lynn said...

Both sets of costumes are just right for their respective movies ( except for those hideous hats Kate wore )

I believed Kate was Emma and as I have said before, I prefer a real British accent.

Gwyneth was just playing Emma and I never forgot she was Gwyneth Paltrow while watching it. She is too modern to play someone from the past for me. I like her in modern things though.

Lynn said...

BTW, I wonder if Nigel dressed up for that Jane Austen ball ? If he went in jean and a T-shirt...Please, don't tell me !

nigel said...

I went as George Whickam!
(I had a sword too)

Lynn said...

Nigel, somehow I knew it would be George Wickham...thanks !

thetruebookaddict said...

I loved Gwyneth's Emma! Had to go with that one. =)