Movie Review – ‘Emma.’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

I seem to have done quite a few Jane Austen-related reviews lately. Back in November 2019, I shared my review on the BBC 1995 production of ‘Persuasion’. In January 2020, I reviewed ‘Love & Friendship’ based on the novella ‘Lady Susan’. Now I’ve seen the 2020 film ‘Emma…with a full stop’?

Yeah, it’s weird the movie classifies itself with a full stop punctuation mark at the end of the title. Why would you even do that? Just calling it ‘Emma’ would’ve been fine. At least the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ movies are justified having a colon punctuation mark in their titles compared to the reboot movies.

(clears throat) Anyway, I’ve touched a lot on Jane Austen’s literary works by doing reviews on various film and TV adaptations on my blog. This includes reviews on film/TV productions of ‘Sense & Sensibility’, ‘Pride & Prejudice’, ‘Mansfield Park’, ‘Northanger Abbey’ and of course ‘Persuasion’. 🙂

‘Emma’ is one literary work of Jane Austen’s I’ve not tackled before in a film or TV adaptation. It’s not I didn’t want to tackle it. It’s just it isn’t one of my Mum’s favourite stories from the world of Jane Austen. So that got sidetracked for a while before I came to actually reviewing a film/TV version of it.

There have been many film/TV adaptations of ‘Emma’ over the years. This includes a 1972 BBC TV production of it; a 1996 TV movie, starring Kate Beckinsale; a 1996 theatrical film, starring Gwyneth Paltrow (would you believe?) and a 2009 BBC TV production, starring Romola Garai as the character.

‘Emma’ is quite a unique Jane Austen story. It focuses on a pretty, young woman named Emma Woodhouse who sees herself as a matchmaker and is rather snobbish in the meddling of romantic affairs between friends and loved ones. But unlike ‘Love & Friendship’, there’s a character journey. 🙂

Despite my Mum not being a fan of ‘Emma’, I appreciate what the story does in having Emma learn the mistakes of her matchmaking and how she overcomes prejudice of other people. And if the 2020 film is anything to go by, it does stick to what the tale’s about and provides a rather unique take on it.

I had a very good time watching the 2020 film of ‘Emma’ at the cinema. It was way better than ‘Love & Friendship’ (which I found baffling) and the performances of the cast were very good. Anya Taylor-Joy is superb as Emma Woodhouse as are all the other actors who play their characters in this story.

There’s Johnny Flynn as George Knightley, who ends up being Emma’s love interest in the film. I admit, I thought Johnny Flynn to be quite young to play Mr. Knightley, especially when other versions have depicted him as being older than Emma. But it was still a good performance from Johnny Flynn.

There’s Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse, Emma’s father and Mia Goth as Harriet Smith, who becomes Emma’s friend. There’s Miranda Hart as Miss Bates; Josh O’Connor as Mr. Elton; Callum Turner as Frank Churchill; Rupert Graves as Mr. Weston; Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston; Amber Anderson as Jane Fairfax; Tanya Reynolds as Mrs. Elton and of course there’s Connor Swindells as Robert Martin.

There were a few things about this movie adaptation of ‘Emma’ that put me off, especially for a U/G certificate rating. First of all, there’s George Knightley showing his bare bum when we first meet him. I…WHAT?! Then there’s Emma showing her posture as she lifted up her skirts while dressing in her room.

Err…WHAT?!! And then there’s Emma having a nose bleed when Mr. Knightley declares his love to her and proposes marriage at the end. Um…WHAT?!!! How did that happen? What caused her nose to bleed? Were Mr. Knightley’s words of romantic passion too much for Emma to take in that her nose bled?

Unless Emma turns out to be Invisible Woman from the ‘Fantastic Four’ and she had set up a forcefield that caused her nose to bleed when weakened, I find it very hard to be justified in the film. I think Miss Austen would have plenty of things to say if she was alive and saw this film on the big screen.

Despite these issues, ‘Emma…with a full stop punctuation mark’ (seriously?) was a good film adaptation to watch on the big screen. I believe it kept the spirit of Jane Austen’s book intact and it was fun to watch with plenty of humorous moments as well as very well-acted emotionally-paced drama.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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