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While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

Director:

Douglas McGrath

Writers:

Jane Austen (novel), Douglas McGrath (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Emma Woodhouse
James Cosmo ... Mr Weston
Greta Scacchi ... Mrs Weston
Alan Cumming ... Mr Elton
Denys Hawthorne Denys Hawthorne ... Mr Woodhouse
Sophie Thompson ... Miss Bates
Jeremy Northam ... Mr Knightley
Toni Collette ... Harriet Smith
Kathleen Byron ... Mrs Goddard
Phyllida Law ... Mrs Bates
Edward Woodall Edward Woodall ... Mr. Martin
Brett Miley Brett Miley ... Little Boy
Brian Capron ... John Knightley
Karen Westwood Karen Westwood ... Isabella
Paul Williamson Paul Williamson ... Footman
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Storyline

Emma Woodhouse is a congenial young lady who delights in meddling in other people's affairs. She is perpetually trying to unite men and women who are utterly wrong for each other. Despite her interest in romance, Emma is clueless about her own feelings, and her relationship with gentle Mr. Knightly. Written by Philip Brubaker <coda@nando.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cupid is armed and dangerous!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 August 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ema See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$240,649, 4 August 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,201,883, 24 November 1996

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ewan McGregor had not read the original novel prior to filming. See more »

Goofs

Frank Churchill's hair changes length in the scenes when he says goodbye to Emma - shorter when he arrives and longer when he leaves. See more »

Quotes

Miss Bates: It left us speechless, quite speechless I tell you, and we have not stopped talking of it since.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to ... the people of Evershot. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Andrew Klavan Show: One Hollywood Hero (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Mr. Beveridge's Maggot
From John Playford's 'The English Dancing Master' Vol. 3 (1728)
Traditional
Arranged by John Gale
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Austen Austen Austen, with some Paltrow sprinkled on
17 January 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Emma (1996)

I like Gwyneth Paltrow, and I love Jane Austen. (That sounds bad. Sorry Gwyneth.)

And this is a great movie for its writing, and a stiff and imperfect movie for its acting. And for Austen fans (and fans is an understatement for some of them) this is almost awful movie. Awful if you love sublime writing and can't stand to see it so wooden.

Paltrow is good. She's pretty. She's appropriately upright. But she insists on "delivering" her lines. She has them memorized, yes. But she doesn't inhabit the character. And Emma, the character, is one of the best of all literature, filled with sassy individualism and social blindness due to ordinary teenage arrogance. The material is there, and it's a great story (if you like early 19th Century melodramas bordering on soap opera of the highest level).

So, it's not a terrible presentation of the movie, but it is, to be sure, a presentation. I honestly think (and don't tremble in rage here) that Alisha Silverstone in "Clueless" gets the spirit of Emma much closer. There is of course a gap of sensibilities here that I'm ignoring—a girl in 1995 (Silverstone) is no match for a girl in Austen's time. I'll leave that one vague.

About "Emma" it's worth saying that the sets and costumes are so convincing you don't really think about them. Everything is brightly lit (which I suppose is a reasonable choice, though it flattens the film emotionally as opposed to, say, the Merchant-Ivory approach). The whole spectacle is spread before the camera lovingly, if a bit predictably.

In the end it's Austen who wins. The writing, both in the specific dialog and in the general plot outline, are delicate and witty and insightful. Nothing sensational here, just drawing room observation at its best. Kudos for that much, and a reasonable translation to film. It's Austen who wins all those stars.


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