Time: 124 minutes
Age Rating: Nudity
Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse
Johnny Flynn as George Knightley
Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse
Mia Goth as Harriet Smith
Miranda Hart as Miss Bates
Josh O’Connor as Mr. Elton
Callum Turner as Frank Churchill
Rupert Graves as Mr. Weston
Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Following the antics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives in Georgian- and Regency-era England and occupies herself with matchmaking – in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion- in the lives of her friends and family.
Emma was one of the movies from 2020 that I was rather looking forward to. I’m not familiar with the novel it’s based on (or really any Jane Austen novel), however I liked the cast involved (with the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy, Mia Goth and Bill Nighy involved), and from the looks of the trailer, it looked quite good. While I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in beyond what it’s based on, I thought Emma was quite good, and I had some fun with it.
While I’m not familiar with Jane Austen’s original novel, it seemed to have been adapted very well for today’s audiences here. The script is well written, very witty and snappy, and the dialogue is particularly great. The tone is handled well also, it’s very humorous (and most of the movie is generally comedic) but also quite heartfelt. One problem with the movie is that although the runtime is just over 2 hours long, it feels just a little longer than that, and that’s due to the pacing. You are still into the movie throughout, but occasionally there was the feeling that it dragged a little bit at certain points. That didn’t prove to be too much of a problem though, I was generally entertained by the movie.
The cast all work really well in their roles, and are among the highlights of the film. Anya Taylor-Joy is in the lead role of Emma Woodhouse, and she gives an absolutely wonderful performance. She’s incredibly charming, yet doesn’t shy away from the more selfish aspects of the character, and really grabs your attention every time she’s on screen (which is pretty much almost the entirety of the movie). The supporting cast with the likes of Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner and others work as well, also giving some solid performances. Among them however, Goth was the standout for me, she’s perfect in her role, and is definitely a ‘different’ character that we’re used to seeing her playing (considering the number of gothic and horror movies she’s starred in recently). She and Taylor-Joy particularly shine in their scenes together, sharing some excellent chemistry.
Emma is the debut film from director Autumn de Wilde, and her work here is impressive for a first movie. On the whole, it’s outstanding on a technical level. Visually it’s stunning, and the use of colour was really effective, it was absolutely gorgeous to look at. On top of that, the costume designs and the production design are amazing, which you’d expect from a period piece movie, but nonetheless is great impressive to see. Much of the movie is very stylish (more so than you’d expect it to be really), but it’s done in a way that suits the material.
Emma is quite good for what it is, and I generally had a good time with it. It’s entertaining, written and directed well, visually colourful and stunning, and the cast all round is great, especially Anya Taylor-Joy and Mia Goth. I’m not sure what people who have read the books will think about this adaptation, nor can I say how well it has adapted the original book to the big screen (or how it compares to previous adaptations), but I enjoyed what I watched. Definitely give it a watch whenever you get a chance to see it.