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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. Read critic reviews
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Audience Reviews for EMMA.
Jul 24, 2020Proof that modern Austen film adaptations not only have merit but that there are still new things to explore. Most importantly, its quite funny while managing to not engage in too many anachronisms.Alec B Super Reviewer
Mar 24, 2020Films that have an elegant feel and take place hundreds of years in the past usually don't draw me in. For that reason alone, take this review with a grain of salt. Based on the Jane Austin novel of the same name, of which I have never read, I went into this film blindly, as I haven't even seen the previous adaptations either. Although I will be admitting some great things about this film as a whole, I personally found it to be average overall. Here's why you'll probably love this movie if you're into these types of films, but also why it won't win you over if you're not. Emma. follows Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) as she observes the ongoing relationships of her friends and family. Becoming too involved in certain areas, she begins to disrupt those relationships. In particular, she complicates things with her friend Harriet (Mia Goth) when she convinces her to make certain decisions. This made for a slightly frustrating experience for me, as I wasn't too fond of her actions. With that said, Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular character was fantastic, as she always is. Although I haven't seen tons of movies featuring Taylor-Joy in a meaty role like this, I have to admit that her being in a film does pique my interest. Her, along with the supporting cast of this movie, all do a great job in sucking you into this time period. I felt like I was transported back into the 1800s, which is no small feat. Movies like this simply don't work unless the production design is flawless and this film was pretty close to perfect in that regard. Being in the business as a production designer for over 25 years, Kave Quinn did some great work here. This brings me to whether or not you should watch the movie in general. Fans of stories from this time period that are prone to liking movies like this from time to time will probably love this film, because all the elements that these movies usually bore me with are extremely well done, admittedly. There is a flip side to that though. I've never been interested in movies like this unless they broke new ground and made a fresh new spin as The Favourite did in 2018. This movie was very well done though, so I definitely feel a positive grade is warranted. In the end, Emma. may not break any new ground for the genre, but it will more than please those who have been eager to see it. For anyone else, I fear it will either mildly entertain you or leave you bored. The 2-hour run time definitely felt its length for me and I didn't feel that the story went in many interesting directions. I've never exposed myself to this story in the past though, so perhaps this wasn't the best version to start with. Overall, it's a well-made period piece that just didn't interest me all that much.KJ P Super Reviewer
Mar 10, 2020If you're going to see a Jane Austen movie, chances are you already know what you're signing up for. This new edition of Emma. (with extra punctuation at no charge) feels like a slightly more arch version, given a dose of the stilted whimsy of Wes Anderson. It's only a dash but it's definitely enough to set the movie apart from its more austere brethren, which will either make it a fresh and reinvigorating take on the material for an audience or a quirky misfire not playing to the strengths of its source material. I fall somewhere in the middle, as I'm not the biggest fan of Austen's comedic voice but appreciate her point of view and the way she can drop you into these very specific, very rarefied world of class, privilege, and ignorance. The movie's pacing is quite slack and the scene-to-scene urgency can seem a bit in doubt, which works with the more arch portrayal but also makes the movie feel very long and borderline tedious at parts. The technical asides of Emma. are impressive, with the glorious costuming and art direction transporting an audience back to that early pastoral 19th century time period. Ana Taylor-Joy (Glass) is a sprightly choice as the titular matchmaker and her best moments are when she embraces the extremes, whether it's being haughty, awkward, contentious, or the occasional dose of slapstick. She navigates the complicated minefield of others affections, trying to stay above it, while finding herself drawn to the free-spirited Mr. Knightly (Johnny Flynn), who is the only reason this movie is rated PG thanks to a brief flash of rear nudity. Mia Goth (Suspiria) is winning as a demure women feeling the highs and lows of love thanks to Emma's friendly intervention. It is such an amusing change of pace for Goth, often performing as a sexpot. The real standout are the comic actors doing the most with their supporting turns. Bill Nighy (Detective Pikachu) is highly amusing as the fussy hypochondriac father and Miranda Hart (Spy) is a welcomed presence as the oblivious, constantly nattering Miss Bates. It's Emma's show, though, and Taylor-Joy is an enjoyable lead surrounded by an exquisitely manufactured world of old. If you're an Austen fan, Emma. is worth a watch. If you're not, this won't exactly be the movie that brings you over into the fanbase. Nate's Grade: BNate Z Super Reviewer
Mar 07, 2020WES ANDERSON'S SENSE AND SENSIBILITY - My Review of EMMA. (3 1/2 Stars) In 1996, Douglas McGrath's adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma made a star out of Gwyneth Paltrow, and a year prior, Clueless, a teen comedy inspired by Austen's novel, catapulted Alicia Silverstone to icon status as well. Now, music video director Autumn de Wilde, making her feature debut and acclaimed novelist turned screenwriter Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries) bring us a new interpretation of the classic and will surely give rise to Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) as well as several of her co-stars. Is this remake necessary? Probably not, but it's a perfectly entertaining, beautifully realized film nonetheless. As those familiar with the tale, Emma Woodhouse (Taylor-Joy) lives with her father on a wealthy countryside estate. Filled to the brim with confidence and a slightly condescending attitude of her peers, Emma has no interest in marrying, but loves to play matchmaker. Throughout the story, we experience a musical chairs version of couplings and breakups, leading to Emma's own self-realization. It's a fluffy yet sometimes incisive takedown of a privileged society. Unlike the more comedic Paltrow version, this telling has some bite. The differences in execution lie largely with Taylor-Joy's more acidic interpretation of the title character. She's a bit of a mean girl, and in one instance, she's completely unsympathetic. Additionally, de Wilde along with Production Designer Kave Quinn and Cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, opt for highly designed dioramas and vibrant pastels to give Wes Anderson a run for his money. This film has a ravishing, noteworthy look which compliments its clipped, sharp tone. Also, the costumes by Designer Alexandra Byrne have a memorable outlandish avant grade quality that will surely inspire future Rupaul's Drag Race contestants. Despite this, the film doesn't feel much different than its predecessor or the source material. Regardless, any effort to bring this story to a younger generation feels like a win. I particularly enjoyed the performances. Taylor-Joy may deftly anchor the film with her unwavering take on her character, but Bill Nighy steals every moment as Emma's stoic father. Despite only a handful of lines, Nighy can turn every moment into an opportunity to be funny. He also gets a memorable entrance as he bursts from a stairway in his introductory shot. Same goes for the great Miranda Hart (Spy) as the severely put-upon Miss Bates. She's hilarious and heartbreakingly great. Johnny Flynn (Beast) gives his Mr. Knightly character a mysterious edge, putting a fresh twist on the traditional romantic lead. Mia Goth as Emma's best friend Harriet creates a wholly original character, whether it's how she smacks her gums when she eats or traverses the tough narrative of falling in love with someone who she knows belongs with someone else. She has the ability to portray joy and sadness all at once. Josh O'Connor and Tanya Reynolds as Mr. and Mrs. Elton fit perfectly together as the creepiest of couples. Callum Turner's Frank Churchhill also transcends the period foppishness to show us a man with vulnerability. The trailer for the film announced itself as a "new vision". On an aesthetic level, sure, I can agree, however inspired they were by The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I found it fairly interchangeable with the original. In this one, Emma doesn't really seem to have learned her lessons, especially in her non-apology scene with Miss Bates. Perhaps the filmmakers wanted to comment on the elite never stooping so low as to say they're sorry, which fits in perfectly with our current political leadership. Maybe she just wanted a more honest portrayal of the 1%, or maybe she desired a little more oomph to set it apart from its more self-satisfied earlier incarnation. Either way, Emma. gets a recommend, even with that annoying period in its title! I mean, seriously, it wreaks havoc on spellcheck and seems like the end of a sentence. Stop, Emma, stop!Glenn G Super Reviewer