A new adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma. ticks all the right boxes thanks to a strong cast and stunning period cinematography.
The movie illustrates just how a look can be more powerful than words.
While there have been many adaptions of Emma, first time director Autumn de Wilde’s take is one of the most faithful to Austen’s novel.
Handsome, clever and rich, 21-year-old Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) has lived all her life in the sleepy English village of Highbury with very little to distress her.
As the film begins, she discovers the thrill of matchmaking after orchestrating a marriage between her governess (Gemma Whelan) and the kind widower, Mr. Weston (Rupert Graves) . Emma celebrates her success until she realizes that she has lost a good companion. Left alone with her hypochondriac father, Mr Woodhouse (Bill Nighy), she turns her eyes to acquiring a new companion, the young and naïve Miss Harriet Smith (Mia Goth).
Her interference in the lives of others draws the ire of the moral and caring Mr Knightley (Johnny Flynn), a wealthy gentleman whose brother has married Emma’s older sister. As both a neighbor and a relative, Knightley spends a lot of time with Emma and her father.
Knightley is particularly cross with Emma’s efforts to match Harriet with local vicar Mr Elton (Josh O’Connor) even though Harriet has feelings for respectable farmer, Robert Martin (Connor Swindells) .
Meanwhile, Emma becomes enamoured with Mr Weston’s son, the handsome Frank Churchill (Callum Turner), who returns to Highbury after an absence. Others in this complicated circle suspect that Knightley is forming an attachment to the accomplished Jane Fairfax (Amber Anderson), adored niece of chatty spinster, Miss Bates (Miranda Hart).
While the tables slowly turn and the outcome of Emma. is never in doubt, the journey is fun to watch thanks to some very witty lines, the performance of the cast and the charming English setting.
Taylor-Joy makes a believable and enjoyable Emma, while Nighy’s nonchalant antics are a joy to watch as her father. He is one of those actors whose expressions say it all.
Flynn’s Mr Knightly, O’Connor’s Mr Elton and Goth’s Harriet Smith also give memorable performances.
Stunning homes filled with magnificent paintings, lush green countryside and colourful period costumes add to the movie’s look and appeal, as do all the scenes featuring aristocratic food piled on magnificent serving platters.
It’s this extravagant detail related to the time together with the acting and the twisting romantic comedy storyline which ensures Emma. offers a few hours of enjoyable escapism.
Emma. opens in cinemas around Australia on Thursday February 13.
- Emma, movie, reviews
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