Director: Autumn de Wilde
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Angus Imrie, Letty Thomas, Gemma Whelan, Bill Nighy, Miranda Hart, Mia Goth, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Rupert Graves, Amber Anderson, Tanya Reynolds
Runtime: 2 hrs 5 mins
Rating: PG (Brief Nudity)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 5 March 2020
Synopsis: Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending is reimagined in this delicious new film adaptation of EMMA. Handsome, clever and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless “queen bee” without rivals in her sleepy little English town. In this glittering satire of social class , Emma must navigate her way through the challenges of growing up , misguided matches and romantic missteps to realize the love that has been there all along.
What were you doing when you are young, single and available? Well, Emma decided to get into matchmaking and making others fulfil their wishes. Or does she?
This version of Emma is the latest remake of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel of the same name and it, without fail, does it best to impress both fans of the author and viewers who are curious about the film.
For one, the synopsis and basis of the book does intrigue people and ignite curiosity among viewers whom have not read the book, as Emma draw its focus on one main protagonist, unlike other Jane Austen’s books, where there were two lead protagonists (one male and one female), emphasising greatly on women and making it rather appropriate in this age and time.
The plot flows rather well with a proper timeline that dissect the story into chapters, using each of the season as a chapter, so that creates a smooth and consistent transition between the scenes. This aspect makes the film easier to digest and comprehend.
Emma also offer to viewers a rather intriguing look into old England, with immaculate wardrobe that reflects accurately of the fashion style of that time. The setting also was appropriate and realistic and it was definitely a joy to look at it generally.
A delightful cast also made the film enduring and loveable in a way, with each and every character having enough air time to develop well into the story and each of the cast member creating a wonderful and realistic take on their characters.
While the film does stay true to the story, it somewhat fails to capture the viewer’s attention visually and engage them, focussing a lot more on the script and quotes from the novel itself, making it slightly ‘inaccessible’ to those who came in without reading the book prior to the film.
It is not to say that Emma is entirely boring and not accessible. It just lacks a bit of ‘excitement’ that could be derived from a novel that focuses on feminism, youth and young love of the 19th century. Consider other works by the same author and other adaptations via various medium, the direction that the director was going for does not seem to inspire people to pick up a book to read it for themselves and instead falls flat into a pool of wordy and endless conversations that requires a lot of attention, which may not sit well with viewers who
There was, however, some sort of humour injected in the film at various points in time and that lightens the mood of the film. It also helped that slightly more than midway through, the film got more excitable and interesting, but sadly it was too late to salvage the ‘drought’ that the film was facing.
Emma is pleasant and lovely and faithful to Jane Austen’s novel, but more could have been done to make it more ‘accessible’ and lively. It felt like the film emphasised greatly on the dialogue, forgetting to create life to the words that were spoken and, thus, creating a nearly boring ride through what is a loveable story.
All in all, Emma could have done more to be a star. It takes more than dialogue to create buzz, but maybe it was meant to be like that. Who knows? Maybe the direction of the film and the novel did not match well, after all.
(Pleasant, delightful and sometimes humorous, but could have been slightly more engaging. Reading the book prior to the film might help a little)
Review by Ron Tan