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Emma (1996)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 60,671

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Jane Austen (who in the '90s seemed to be in the running alongside William Shakespeare and Stephen King for the honors of most adapted author in Hollywood), this period romantic comedy stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma Woodhouse, a young woman who imagines herself an authority on matters of the heart. With the best of intentions, Emma plays matchmaker for her friends, most notably her friend Harriet (Toni Collette), who Emma links up with the Reverend Elton (Alan Cumming), and


Comedy, Romance

Douglas McGrath

Jan 15, 2002

Miramax Films

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All Critics (48) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (8) | DVD (8)

Suddenly you remember how merciless and cutting Austen's satire can be, even in the brutal '90s.

August 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

When the going gets tougher the film doesn't have many answers, and the odd unsettling surge of over-emphasis betrays an eye on the American market.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gwyneth Paltrow makes a resplendent Emma, gliding through the film with an elegance and patrician wit that bring the young Katharine Hepburn to mind.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not difficult to enjoy the genteel amusements Emma provides even while wishing its virtues were less wholly on the surface.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gwyneth Paltrow sparkles in the title role, as young Miss Woodhouse, who wants to play God in her own little patch of England.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Paltrow is smashing.

January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Perfect for warmhearted family entertainment.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

This Emma is light, airy and modern -- surely Austen's funniest work.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

While Sense and Sensibility loves subtlety, silence, and space, and Persuasion loves realism, repression, and understatement, Emma loves its star Gwyneth Paltrow ...

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

McGrath pokes gentle fun at the over-refinements of privileged gentility, though not without enjoying its trappings and honoring its best aspirations.

May 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

A good Jane Austen adaptation that can be watched over and over.

April 24, 2003

Fun, but pales next to the previous year's Clueless.

April 21, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Although it is a very fine film, I found the pace a little slow in places as it wandered off the mark.

March 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Slightly fun, but really boring.

March 15, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

Pure movie joy.

November 14, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Emma is delightful, a breezy romance comedy of complication and confusion, with Gwynneth Paltrow a winning delight as the titular Ms. Woodhouse, meddling in the romantic lives of her friends and associates.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Vivid cautionary tale for well-intentioned do-gooders.

August 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It is Paltrow who brings this film to life.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Enjoy Emma, a bit of brightness in a summer of explosions.

April 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

It is necessary to report that Paltrow is the biggest drawback of Douglas McGrath's Jane Austen adaptation Emma.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Emma has all the misplaced seriousness of a documentary on genital warts.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

The Jane Austen Machine keeps on chugging.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Philadelphia City Paper
Philadelphia City Paper

Audience Reviews for Emma

Very delightful.
January 18, 2014

Super Reviewer
October 10, 2009
Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer

Fairly faithful adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. Gwyneth Paltrow is adorable and Ewan McGregor sans ridiculous hair is kind of charming, so this should all make for quite a solid movie. But despite all this I was kind of bored. The problem is that the story wasn't all that great to begin with. Sorry, Ms. Austen.
September 23, 2008

Super Reviewer

    1. Mr. Knightley: Vanity working on a weak mind produces every kind of mischief.
    – Submitted by Cathy D (22 months ago)
    1. Frank Churchill: Is your horse just washing his feet or are there darker forces at work?
    2. Emma Woodhouse: The latter I'm afraid. Something has happened to the wheel and I cannot move.
    3. Frank Churchill: Well you'll just have to live here then. Bye-bye.
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
    1. Mr. Knightley: Whom you going to dance with?
    2. Emma Woodhouse: With you if you'll ask me. You've shown yourself to be a fine dancer despite all your protests and it shall not be improper for us to dance. After all we are not brother and sister.
    3. Mr. Knightley: [laughing] Brother and sister?! No, no... No indeed we are not...
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Emma (UK)
  • Emma (1996) (CA)
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