Dir. Autumn de Wilde
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“She always declares that she will never marry.
Which of course means just nothing at all…”
Brush up your cinematic manners – here’s Jane Austen's much-loved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending - reimagined for our savvier age. “Handsome, clever, and rich” says the tag line and that’s exactly what Emma Woodhouse (Anya ‘The VVitch’ Taylor Joy) is… She’s a restless young high society singleton queen bee without rival, playing matchmaker to all around her but seemingly without thought of her own romantic needs.
Austen’s novel is a glittering satire of social class and a treatise on the pain of growing up, de Wilde’s film version is slick and entertaining adaptation – which does enough to differentiate it from
the Gwyneth Paltrow starring 1996 version. The fairly slight plot sees Emma adventuring through her maze of misguided matches and romantic missteps who include her dearest friend Harriet Smith (Mia ‘Suspiria’ Goth) whose lower station in life means she becomes a bit of plaything for our titular heroine.
Bill Nighy and Miranda Hart are in hand for additional comic effect – him with a peculiar obsession of catching a chill from drafts, and her with what I like to call ye-olde-Miranda banter. The dashing Mr Knightley (Johnny ‘Beast’ Flynn) who gets to provide a glimpse of cheeky buttocks fulfils the passionate suitor – right under Emma’s nose - think John Hughes movie plot.
There is much to enjoy as the course of true love runs slightly errant through a series of social engagements, balls and afternoon teas. It does change tone at times which can make the film feel like a mashup between a stage musical and a Victorian (or should I say Regency) farce. The cinematic landscapes and gorgeous stately homes are lavishly shot and almost every frame is a marvel to behold which is much credit to the production team who borrow the best elements of the many films and tv
adaptations that have gone before.
As the main character, Austen’s Emma is a spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied meddler but Tayor Joy manages to make her human and even evoke empathy. I have to confess to being a huge Jane Austen fan – I’d read all of her novels even before I got to high school so I’m an easy target for big screen, big-budget adaptations of her work.
Having said that, Emma is a lovely date movie and an all-round winner for some good looking and witty entertainment.
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3.5 - Fun and romantic update of a classic)
Awesomeness öööö - Lovely romantic fun
Laughs ööö – Some funnies, was actually hoping for more!?
Horror ö – Very little to disturb apart from social mores
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Don't play cupid
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