TL;DR – Charmingly silly, yet deeply compelling
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Emma Review –
It has been said of me lately that I have been rather a bit dismissive of the old works of writers like Jane Austen. Well, in my attempt to catch up on some of the films I missed in 2020, I thought it would be the perfect time to remedy this, a little.
In England’s Regency-era, a local matchmaker has made her latest match in the rural countryside village of Highbury. Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) has set up her governess Miss Taylor (Gemma Whelan) and local widower Mr Weston (Rupert Graves). She loves the game, and her latest intrigue is Harriet Smith (Mia Goth) who brings her into a confrontation with George Knightley (Johnny Flynn), a friend and yet sometimes rival.
I think what made this film work as well as it did is that the cast thoroughly knew what type of film this was and absolutely nailed their performances. It also helps that the cast if full of some of Britain’s best young talent who all fit their tailored costumes impeccably. Some of the exchanges in this film are so crisp with their delivery and quickness that I think they can put Gilmore Girls to shame.
At the heart of the film is the titular Emma, so it was good that Anya Taylor-Joy nailed every inflection and indeed every quizzical look. Or indeed every interjection into a conversation that it would have been better for her if she let them tell her the answer instead of presuming what they are about to say. You become attached to her story, even when you see those mistakes coming, and it is Anya’s performance that makes that work.
But the whole cast is here giving their all. It takes a lot of work to make Josh O’Connor be a bit of a creep, but they achieved it here, I think it might be all the high collars that help. If you ever needed a case study in how amazing Miranda Hart is as an actor, then watch what happens when Miss Bates’ whole world gets destroyed in an instant. Then we have Tanya Reynolds, who every word that she speaks is interesting as if Mrs Augusta Elton has no shred of tact, while Connor Swindells and Johnny Flynn just spend the film being charming.
To add to all of this is the presentation that is as immaculately tailored as the costumes. There were several shots in this film that took my breath away with their composition. Much like The Favourite and The Great, this is a show that the locations scouts should win awards for as every scene feels like it has gone back in time. Also, as mentioned previously, every outfit in this film is a delight.
In the end, do we recommend Emma? Absolutely. I had a blast with this film, and while I would have liked the story to go a little deeper, it does not take away from a movie filled with solid performances, and stunning visuals.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Emma
Directed by – Autumn de Wilde
Screenplay by – Eleanor Catton
Based on – Emma by Jane Austen
Music by – Isobel Waller-Bridge & David Schweitzer
Cinematography by – Christopher Blauvelt
Edited by – Nick Emerson
Production/Distribution Companies – Focus Features, Perfect World Pictures, Working Title & Universal Pictures
Starring – Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Bill Nighy, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Amber Anderson, Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Tanya Reynolds, Connor Swindells, Oliver Chris & Chloe Pirrie
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 0; New Zealand: PG; United Kingdom: U; United States: PG