Emma (2020) A Review

The latest in a long line of Jane Austen adaptions, and to my mind, not the best one in recent years.

Certificate: U

Director: Autumn de Wilde

Screenwriter: Eleanor Catton (screenplay by), Jane Austen (based on the novel by)

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Mia Goth, Bill Nighy

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 124 Minutes

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

There are nearly as many adaptions of Jane Austen novels as there are days in the year, And some of them are more faithful, and more enjoyable than others.  And sadly, for me this one is one of the less enjoyable ones.  It just missed a mark for me.

Emma is a young socialite who, with the best of intentions, like to play matchmaker for her friends and family.  Sometimes these matches turn out well, other times however they don’t.  And she doesn’t give a single thought to the concerns of her own heart, until it is almost too late.

A tough time to release a new Period piece, right after the great love and success of Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’  and maybe it’s because of that, that my expectations of this film were so scewed.

Emma, while not my favourite of Jane Austen’s novels, does have some of my favourite of her Characters.  While Bill Nighy does an excellent job of bringing Mr Woodhouse to life and capturing all of his eccentricities.  But for me most of the other cast fall woefully short of how I envision them in my head.  With perhaps the only exception being Miranda Hart, who is of course a joy in everything she is in, but particularly here.  Where to me, the part of Miss Bates has been written in such a way as too suit her personally.

Anya Taylor Joy comes across at times as too stiff to me.  Almost as a caricature of the English Aristocracy she is meant to play.  And while this may partly be intentional, it does make her performance less enjoyable for me.  But her on screen chemistry with both Johnny Flynn and Callum Turner was pretty good, meaning that as far as her on screen performance went, it was better then I had thought it would be.

Visually thought the film is a treat.  There are a lot of saturated colours and bold fabrics used, really drawing the viewers eyes to the screen.  It was a sumptuous delight for the eyes and for that the film should be acknowledged. 

It won’t be one that I remember come the end of the year, and it won’t even be remembered as one of my favourite Jane Austen adaptions, but it is I suppose passable as a way of wasting two hours on a dreary afternoon, especially if you are a fan of the classic literature.

Emma is out in UK cinemas now.

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