Amy Heckerling’s exaggerated depiction of Jane Austen’s Emma, proves a comical counterpart to the novel. The characters are transformed and dramatized to provide the viewer with a completely different and somewhat analogous view of the novel:
Emma – Cher
Cher is the 21th century Emma. Snobbish and rich, with an innate inclination to help people and fix certain situations around her. Although Cher is not as eloquent as Austen’s Emma, we can still see that their characteristics are the same. In the novel, Emma’s reasons for befriending Harriet are shallow. Emma befriends Harriet for mere convenience, seeing Harriet as someone with “good looks” who complements her character. In Heckerling’s dramatization of the novel, we see the same intention with Cher’s friendship with Dee, “we are friends because we know what it is like to have people who are jealous of you.” Cher goes on to state that the base for their friendship is founded on the fact that both her and Dee are named after famous singers that had gone on to become infomercial models. Not the best way to choose friends.
Within the novel, there is one scene where Emma informs Mr. Elton of her attempt to paint a portrait of Harriet , in an attempt to bring them together, however in Hecklings version she swaps the canvas and paintbrush for a camera and takes pictures of Tai (Harriet) instead. I found it to be a genius way to make the movie more relatable to its 21st century audience.
Tai is depicted very differently from docile Harriet. Funky and free-spirited. Emma attempts to pair her with another character who just happens to be called Elton.
Mr. Woodhouse – Mel
Heckling’s depiction of Mr. Woodhouse is eccentric and unique. Mr. Woodhouse is not the self-pitying father as we see in Austen’s Emma, but a brash and shrewd lawyer.
The Voice Overs
The voice overs in Clueless do the movie justice as we can track Cher’s internal monologue and see what drives her character. The voice over takes the place of the narrator in Emma and provides us with insights to Cher