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Sharon Bruni on Escaping with Emma 

On my way to work during the last days the staff were working in the library before going completely remote, I was listening to NPR’s “All Things Considered" about Universal Studios’ decision to stream their current running films due to theater closures.  

I just happened to catch the segment where Autumn de Wilde, the director of the recent adaptation of Emma (whom I had known previously as a photographer) was being interviewed about why she was in agreement with Universal’s decision to stream her film, stating: “I did intend to make an escape film, you know, a movie that you could just forget about everything for two hours. I mean, I don't think my movie's saving lives. But you know, it's really - I think anything that can cheer you up for a couple hours right now is very valuable.”  

I had hopes of catching this film in the theaters for the visuals alone so that weekend I paid the $19.99 streaming fee and watched it via iTunes (Emma is available on multiple platforms), justifying the cost as a “night-out” for my husband and me. It was worth it. de Wilde’s eye for color, paired with Alexandra Byrne’s costume designs and the setting of the English countryside and manor houses, provided me with all the eye candy I was hoping for. Yes, it is effective escapism. 

For Austen fans, there are many ways you can escape into her mannered comedies of the nineteenth-century English gentry. 

Hoopla offers: 

A fairly comprehensive collection of Jane Austen’s works in both e-book and e-audio format. I am attaching my own favorite list but a search for Jane Austen in Hoopla will find 170 items. 

Hoopla also offers the 1996 adaptation of Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Roger Ebert’s four star reviewed 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park

For all you Anglophiles out there I recommend exploring some of the titles from my ACORN TV watch list to get lost in the landscape and history of the British Isles. 

To further explore adaptations of works of Jane Austen I recommend listening in on Jillian Davis and Yolanda Rodriguez’s Pemberley Podcast on Player FM. 


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