Show & Tell: Emma


Well, this is disappointing.

I had planned to do a discussion of Emma on Tuesday night, just like we did during the before-times. The movie, the latest in the delightfully steady flow of remakes based on Jane Austen’s novels, is a very worthy retelling of the tale of the upper class, small-town matchmaker who needs to learn a lesson in humility.

I can say the movie is good because I’ve actually seen it, which is unusual. Despite an opening half-hour of flashy early 19th-century fashion such as a village-like Highbury would never have seen in a century, the film ultimately delivers a well-earned emotional punch. The performances are excellent, and the adapters have chosen well in what they chose to retain and what to leave out.

This version of Emma is, in other words, well worth seeing.

So much for the good news.

The bad news is that I just don’t feel comfortable leading a film discussion in front of a potentially large audience. Yes, I did a discussion of Good Trouble, the John Lewis movie, a couple of weeks ago. But that was an afternoon showing, and attendance was (as I suspected) pretty small.

My main concern is that we have just been through Labor Day weekend, and the influx of out-of-staters and the return of UNH students have raised uncertainty about COVID levels too high for an old guy like me to risk.

I am quite impressed with the precautions that The Music Hall has put in place for moviegoers. Masks and hand sanitizing are required, and seating is limited in a way that keeps people six feet apart at all times.

Despite that, I don’t feel that I can take the risk, especially as my wife is also of an age that makes us both quite vulnerable.

So, bottom line, I hope you enjoy the movie, and I apologize again for initially agreeing to do the discussion and then backing out.

My hope is that by October any wavelet of contagion caused by incautious (by which I mean stupid) tourists and students will have subsided, and we can all watch and talk again with more confidence. I have agreed to do two discussions in October, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to meet in relative security by then.

I hope you enjoy Emma. Watch very carefully during the Box Hill scenes for the crucial turn in the narrative.

I hope to see you soon.

Paul Goodwin