Following the antics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives in Georgian and Regency-era England, occupies herself with matchmaking – in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion – in the lives of her close friends and family.
Plot: In 1800s England, a well meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends.
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Runtime: 124 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Other adaptations may do a better job of consistently capturing the spirit of the classic source material, but Jane Austen fans should still find a solid match in this Emma.
“Welcoming Jane Austen to a brand new generation.”
A very wealthy Emma Woodhouse searches for a new companion after her governess marries and leaves her. Emma chooses Harriet Smith, a younger girl whom Emma supposes is the unclaimed child of a gentleman. When Emma learns that Mr. Robert Martin, a tenant farmer of her sister’s husband’s brother, Mr. Knightley, has proposed to Harriet. She claims she will not interfere, but Emma manipulates Harriet into declining Mr. Martin’s offer of marriage believing that Mr. Elton, the local vicar, is in love with her.
During the Winter season, Emma’s older sister and Mr. Knightley’s younger brother come home to visit. After everyone leaves dinner early one night, Emma finds herself alone in a carriage with Mr. Elton who declares his love for her. After Emma denies him, Mr. Elton disappears for weeks… but when he returns, he does so with a wife. From here, two members of Emma’s social circle appear: the governess niece, Jane Fairfax, and Mr. Weston’s son from his first marriage, Frank Churchill. Naturally, Emma grows jealous of Jane and is enchanted by Frank.
When the Weston’s hold a ball, Emma and Mr. Knightley dance together sparking feelings between the two of them. Even though Emma leaves before Mr. Knightley can speak to her, he runs to meet her at her home where he’s interrupted by Frank who had just rescued Harriet. From here, Harriet convinces Emma that she has fallen in love again leading Emma to believe Harriet is in love with Frank. Emma, again, vows not to interfere, but ends up controlling every move so that Harriet and Frank can spend more time together.
What happens next? You will have to check out the film to find out.
In conclusion —
Emma starts out a little slow, but as soon as the film starts to take shape, the source material is too good to slow down. As soon as we hit ‘that rhythm’ the film sets itself up to be, it’s consistently engaging from there-on-out. You should already know the story (or at least some of it), so seeing the best parts re-imagined by the director is a fresh of breath air. Like this film promotes itself to be; this is truly a stunning new vision of the groundbreaking literary classic on love and redemption.
When it comes to the runtime, don’t expect a quick turnaround — the movie is over two hours in length, but it never overstays its welcome. You would think a new take on the classic in today’s world would feature material that would clench to a PG-13 rating with unneeded language, nudity and over-sexuality, but Emma does so with just a PG rating.
Lastly, I just need to note that every single aspect of this movie is well above par; the acting, screenplay, cinematography, set design and score. These’s really nothing negative to point out, even at the lowest inconsequential level — well done.
When it comes to special features you’ll get the usual deleted scenes and a gag reel to start. From there you get to go behind the scenes with the cast, watch the crew discussing the gorgeously preserved locations and extravagant sets, plus an intimate look at director Autumn de Wilde’s filmmaking process and her photographic eye. It has all you need and more to dive deeper into the film if you wish.
Taking everything I’ve said into account, Emma gets my recommendation for a day one purchase. On a nerdy note, this movie would have looked amazing in UHD, it not only has the color palette to shine with the use of HDR, but it has a 4K digital intermediate for maximum pixels!
A quote I really liked that sums up this film in a sentence came from Ezequiel Boetti, “The film resembles a perfectly choreographed ballet… that mixes classicism with modernity through a reinterpretation made with intelligence and sobriety.” So do yourself a favor, grab a copy at your local retailer when it releases on Blu-ray & DVD May 19th. This movie will not disappoint your expectations.
Did you catch Emma in theater? Were you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Cheers & stay safe,
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