Emma (2020) and fremdschämen?
October 27, 2020 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Can any of my fellow fremdschämen sufferers tell me how they reacted to the new Emma movie? I love Jane Austen, but I've been known to walk out of the room when characters in a movie or TV show are embarrassed or humiliated. I don't want to pay for the movie if I won't be able to finish it.
posted by ChodenKal to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Are you familiar with the story already? It keeps fairly true to the book, for starters. So, for example, one character does feel embarrassed when they are all at a ball, and someone refuses to invite her to dance. (Though someone else swoops in and dances with her.) That character also feels embarrassed when the man she likes makes it clear he doesn't like her. That sort of thing happens a few times in this story.

A turning point in the story specifically revolves around one character realizing that the "gentle teasing" she thinks she's been subject to is actually a thinly veiled insult, and thus she feels quite embarrassed. The person who did the insulting is made to feel guilt for having done so. Apologies make it all well.

The wikipedia page for the film has a pretty good summary, if you want to read it in advance.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:56 PM on October 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I feel like the Emma characterization in this one feels the least amount of shame compared to the 1996 film or the 2009 miniseries. (Both had rather good depiction of the deep self-awareness that comes over Emma.) Clueless has little of it, basically Cher is perfect, just immature.

It's not my favorite adaptation (I quite liked the miniseries), but it's fun to see this version for the costumes and cast. I paid to see it back when it was something like $20 and would't do that again. Since it's on HBO now, I'd be fine with that instead.

I wouldn't count myself as a fremdschamen sufferer, just someone who doesn't enjoy entertainment that centers around that ... like I've never watched The Office, it's just too full of cringe.
posted by typetive at 7:08 PM on October 27, 2020 [6 favorites]

I have never heard of fremdschamen before, but I often skip the parts of movies where people are embarrassed and I can still viscerally feel how awful I felt about an episode of Cheers that I saw when Cheers was still on the air where Diane embarrasses herself, so I imagine I'm somewhere in your vicinity in terms of how much I do not like cringe and I had no problem with this version of Emma. The original story has a few moments where people make romantic gestures that are rejected and there's famously the moment where Emma is mean to a friend and gets pulled up for it, but none of these moments are played in a cringey manner.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:23 PM on October 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’m a bigtime sufferer and had no problems with Emma. I thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:47 PM on October 27, 2020

Thanks all! The four of you together answered all my questions.

I'll be buying it as soon as I finish my 800th rewatch of Pride and Prejudice (1995).
posted by ChodenKal at 5:57 AM on October 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

I never knew there was a word for this (naturally there is! naturally it's German! naturally it's an exact translation of the two main component parts of the feeling!) and anyway I THANK YOU for giving me new vocabulary to express how I absolutely cannot watch shows or read books where characters humiliate themselves.

And also, I forgot about the new Emma--so thanks for that, too!
posted by alleycat01 at 6:38 AM on October 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

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