"Emma Woodhouse was born with the sun shining—to a father who always expected the worst. One day the worst did happen." Definitely a clever opening line, but does it really top Jane Austen's: "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her." Not for this viewer, but then, I am one of those Austen purists that has to see a very good reason for tampering with the author’s excellent words, and, even though the narrator reads those opening lines with good effect in the voiceover, the backstory that screenwriter Sandy Welch chooses to give us about Emma, Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax (that their mothers died when they were children) seems unnecessary and out of place. One might suppose it’s there for the benefit of viewers who haven’t read the novel, setting up an explanation for the characters’ later behavior, but it distracts from what is, after all, Emma’s story, and takes away some of the mystery.
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