Emma. ★★★½

hi, yes, popping in here to let everyone know that i am still thinking on the subtle serve that was delivered via that carriage scene!

it's a scene that is pretty much always played for laughs (see: the 1996 version of the scene), but taking into account that what is likely the most interesting aspect about using source material that's been adapted so many times is that the differences between each iteration highlight the strengths and weakness of one another, it is especially great watching josh o'connor's take on this.

it's a scene that is instrumental in revealing mr. elton's true nature - arrogant, ignorant, and self-serving. and often, it's conveyed through his absolute oblivion concerning emma's and harriet's feelings.
the scene itself finds its humor in his continued displays of denseness throughout his conversation with emma, completely surprised that he is, in fact, not the ~~~ dream man ~~~ he believes himself to be regarded as.

however, whereas cumming (1996) and ritson (2009) play the scene almost in a singular(?) tone, there's a split-second switch in o'connor's that adds another layer to both his performance and his character's depth.
every iteration of mr. elton points out just how pathetic the man is, which is just how the carriage scene in this version begins, but the tonal shifts in o'connor's line deliveries after his embarrassing confession (e.g. "miss smith is a very good sort of girl..." and especially "everybody has their level") unveil a conniving intelligence to mr. elton that other iterations do not highlight.
yes, mr. elton is awkward and pathetic, but his ambitions are not altogether baseless. and even in o'connor's supporting role, working within a screwball comedy, he manages to establish a memorable presence through both comedy and drama (that arguably, he creates for himself).

i don't know if it was o'connor's decision to play it that way or de wilde's direction or both but regardless!!! i am still thinking on it and it all just makes me quite pleased and that is all i have to say.

anyway, until the next viewing! ♥

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