Jane Austen's beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.Written by
I have previously seen three TV versions of Emma, and the 1990s Hollywood film with Gwyneth Paltrow - which I find excessively sentimental. Emma is not my favourite Austen novel, but the adaptation used for the 2020 film version is generally very good. One or two specifics are omitted, but this is inevitable in compression to the running time of just over two hours.
As all reviews have noted, the film is beautifully designed and shot. Some of the design may even be thought to be over the top, but I thought that was consonant with the mannered approach of the cast, an approach which works well in making this essentially a comedy of manners as well as a love story. The detective story element of the novel doesn't go for very much - little is made of the piano, and Frank Churchill's slip in knowing about Dr Perry's carriage is omitted.
I thought Mia Goth's well-rounded performance of Harriet the best I have seen, and it is certainly difficult to take one's eyes off Anya Taylor-Joy in the titular lead. Other female performances are perhaps more so-so, although Chloe Pirie's harassed Isabella is interesting. The comedic Mr Elton would be well over the top in some adaptations but just about fits in here. Other male roles are adequately filled even though the portrayal of john Knightly is slightly bizarre. Bill Nighy is...well, Bill Nighy, this time with amazing costume.
I enjoyed it, and I intend to see it again soon. Overall I would just favour the 1996 Kate Beckinsale ITV version but this is close behind and in some ways better
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