Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mr. Knightley in Review

And here we go, Mr. Knightley, hero of Emma and perhaps besides Mr. Tilney, whom I think would be the Austen hero for me (mostly because I have a thing for older men and he's so stinkin' rich!).

The contestants in order of my having been introduced to them:
Jeremy Northam (1996 with Gwyneth Paltrow and the only Emma I knew for years)
Mark Strong (1996 with Kate Beckinsale)
Jonny Lee Miller (2009 with Romola Garai)

The contestants in order of my preference:

My most perfect Mr. Knightley
Jonny Lee Miller of course! To be fair to the others, Jonny has a lot more to work with bc of the nature of a 4 hours mini series versus a 90 minute or 2 hour movie, but to be fair to Jonny he rocked it! The whole show is absolutely my favorite overall. Jonny's just wonderful. The relationship between Emma and Knightley is a lot less formal in this version and I love it. Much of their story is propelled by the looks of horror, disgust, exasperation, but also of admiration, fondness, and love. Mr. Knightley's scoffs and scowls are so endearing. His berating of Emma after the Mr. Martin/Harriet fiasco and Box Hill is dead on, not overly mean, but he gets his point across. We see Uncle George, brother-in-law, brother, responsible landowner, party host, son-in-law, dancer, it's all just great! Where the shorter versions really only have time to show Emma interactions, we see many many sides of Mr. Knightley, excellently portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller, creating an entire and well composed character. Also, you see Mr. Miller hold his baby niece very often, and that just melts the heart.

Nothing against Jonny Lee Miller, but the costumes in this version are a titch off, for Mr. Knightley mostly in the fit of his shoulders, completely drowning him often. Some also argue that he's almost the same height has Romola Garai, but I don't mind. Even though Jonny Lee Miller is only ten years older than Romola Garai I believed their 16 year difference.
the best looks.

just so dreamy
You just gotta give it to Jeremy Northam for being so dreamy. He's more playful than the others and has the best hair and costumes. It took quite the performance by Jonny Lee Miller to knock Jeremy Northam off his pedestal. He's eleven years older than Gwyneth Paltrow, but I always felt like she played Emma a little old and he played Knightley a little younger so their age difference in this version wasn't such a big thing. Ug, Jeremy Northam.The one thing I miss in the other versions from the Jeremy Northam version is his kissing her hand before he goes to London, so dreamy. His proposal is also my second favorite, it being the least like the book's. Miller's is my favorite, but I do really appreciate the affection in Northam's. Northam has the best costumes, and shirtsleeves are involved, which is toats the best.

Mark Strong is the most physically imposing of the Knightley's and he's kind of got this gentleman farmer feel to him more than just filthy rich. He more than the others convinces me that he's 16 years older than Emma, maybe even more, even though he's 10 years older than Kate Beckinsale. I think Mark Strong really hits the "raising Emma up to be perfect for him" that sometimes comes through in the novel. With the screenplay by Andrew Davies I think this is not surprising. While the proposal is the most like the novel I like it the least, and it's not Mark's fault that he had to say "I held you in my arms when you were three weeks old", but I can blame him for having a terrible kiss.  Mark Strong's Box Hill tell off and Mr. Martin/Harriet argument are very good as is his baby holding, but I just have to put him at the bottom. Overall however I'd take any of the Knightleys :)

Mr. Darcy in review 

ug, so adorable in plaid flannel
UPDATE 4/14/12

 I'm adding Paul Rudd as a Mr. Knightley from Clueless. He ties with Jeremy Northam. I love Cluesless, it's wonderful.


1 comment:

  1. Brilliant! I'm in total agreement!