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Having been created before, and in many forms, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the film ‘Emma’. However, I did not expect the film to be as boring and long winded as it was…

Described as a ‘comedy drama’ film, Emma is based on the book by Jane Austen. The ‘handsome, clever and rich’ Emma Woodhouse sees herself as a matchmaker in the little town she calls home in Georgian England. Embedded in an alleged satire of social class, Emma unknowingly finds her match, that has been in front of her all along, although this realisation does not occur without some curve balls along the way!

This classic Austen novel has been adapted many a time and with regards to the most recent version, I take some agreement with rotten tomatoes who said ‘other adaptations may do a better job of consistently capturing the spirit of the classic source material, but Jane Austen fans should still find a solid match in this Emma’. Adaptations include the 2009 BBC series and the 1996 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow. For me, a chick flick lover, this film did not come close to the adapted version of ‘Clueless’ in which the plot of the film transpires in the setting of an American high school. Whilst some attempts to modernise classics fail miserably, this version did not and as a result puts the latest release of this film to shame. 

What surprised me the most about this film was that, whilst it wasn’t great, the cast line up seemingly was. Combining the skills and experience of Bill Nighy with the comic Miranda Hart as well as familiar faces such as Josh O’Connor, Johnny Flynn and Gemma Whelan, one would expect some cinematic excellence. Although the acting wasn’t bad and Bill Nighy will forever be one of my favourite actors, it seemed the story line was not executed in a way that allowed these actors and actresses to perform their best work. Yes, Miranda Hart did execute some funny one-liners and yes, there was an underlying tone of wit in what were portrayed as serious scenes but overall it felt like something was missing. The characters just seemed to make continual small talk and it was difficult to see where the story was going despite the ending being predictable from the start. 

However, it would be wrong to discredit the film completely. The costumes and stylings were tasteful and yet periodical as they added elements of vibrant colour to the screen in a subtle way. The settings both in and outside were also stunning and brought both Highfield House and Hartfield to life. The stately home, in Sussex was filled with pretty patterns and set within an area of beauty. The filming beyond the house walls took place in the Cotswolds, another area of beauty and this really gave the film a cute and quaint vibe. 

Despite not being a complete fan of this film there were elements of promise and if you are in to periodical dramas then I would definitely recommend going to see it. For me the film deserves 2 out of 5 stars.

‘Emma’ is currently showing regularly at the Savoy Cinema, Lenton and Cineworld, The Cornerhouse in the city centre. 

Hattie Gomme

Nottingham '21

20, UoN
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