Film Review: Emma
Release date: 14 February 2020
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Jonny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner
Runtime: 125 minutes
Genre: Period drama, romance, comedy
Watched in: 2D
Rating: 5/5 stars
This most recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma is my first experience of her well-known novel. I’ve read Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility, but not yet read Emma (though I’m sure I will having thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation). I’ve also not seen any other film or TV versions before, so wasn’t familiar with the plot before seeing the film. Emma is handsome, clever, rich and admired by those in her town. She’s an ambitious matchmaker but on her mission to make matches for others, discovers love herself.
This adaptation is brilliantly filmed and acted. I was captivated and enthralled from start to finish. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Emma brilliantly, with her facial expressions and delicate touches of body language bringing the character to life. I love how Emma isn’t a typical heroine, and how she grows over the course of the plot. The chemistry between Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn is evident from the start and I revelled in their exchanges throughout. The casting overall was superb. Bill Nighy is excellent as Emma’s father and provided a lot of the comedy moments. As a big fan of Miranda, it’s always a joy to see Miranda Hart and she was very well cast for her role.
The set design, costume design and cinematography is sumptuous and vivid. There are no drab period rooms here, but a bright, pastel palette that’s a wonder for the senses. Every scene pops off the screen. I am no historian, and have absolutely no idea whether the sets and costumes are historically accurate or not, but from a viewer perspective they were sublime.
Unfortunately, our viewing was disrupted at the film’s big moment (a proposal of course, this is Jane Austen) by someone stumbling up the stairs in the cinema screen. It wasn’t clear if they were ill or drunk, but the film was paused for a couple of minutes while they carried him out. Hopefully he was okay. But it did distract from what the characters were saying so I missed an important moment!
Emma is charming, funny and captivating. There wasn’t a dull moment and the film held my attention all the way through. My brain says it should get four stars, but my heart says five. So I shall give it those five stars, purely for my absolute enjoyment of the film. I can see myself watching Emma over and over again.