Movie Review Emma

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Just before movie theaters shut down in March, across the US, I anticipated seeing the new theatrical release Emma. I love this story by Jane Austen  and I’ve enjoyed previous film adaptations. In fact, the 1996 version with Gwyneth Paltrow in the title role is one of my favorite movies.

Imagine my disappointment when the theater closed the same week I intended to view this fresh version of Emma. Although I appreciate so much the big screen experience with new releases, I’m grateful for streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video. This weekend I settled in for an afternoon of entertainment, watching this film at last.

How did it compare with the 1996 version?

Here it is, my Movie Review Emma.

Movie Review Emma title meme

Cast and Characters of Emma

Emma stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Bill Nighy, Gemma Whelan, Rupert Graves, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Amber Anderson, Callum Turner and Tanya Reynolds.

Autumn de Wilde directed this period piece romantic comedy. And Eleanor Catton wrote the screenplay, based on the novel by Jane Austen. Emma carries a PG rating for brief nudity and has a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Movie Review Emma friends
Movie review Emma – friends

Emma the Matchmaker

Set in the early 19th century, in the little town of Highbury, England, the story focuses on Emma Woodhouse (Taylor-Joy), the precocious younger daughter of Mr. Woodhouse (Nighy).

Emma is handsome, clever and rich, with a comfortable home and a happy disposition. And she had lived nearly 21 years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

She is also spoiled, stubborn and meddlesome, although she’s motivated by kindness and people are willing to indulge her whims. Content to never marry, Emma nonetheless believes herself an excellent matchmaker. After all, she successfully brought together her former governess, Miss Taylor (Whelan) and the widower Mr. Weston (Graves).

Encouraged by that happy union, Emma decides to make another match, this time with her new friend Harriet (Goth) and the town’s vicar, Mr. Elton (O’Connor).

Emma’s closest friend and confidante, the moody Mr. Knightley (Flynn) warns the headstrong girl to beware meddling in affairs of the heart. She pays him no heed.

Movie Review Emma Mr. Woodhouse
Movie Review Emma – Mr. Woodhouse

Emma’s Mismatches

What pursues are hilarious misadventures as Emma’s carefully thought out plans falter.

Harriet, a sweet girl of unknown parentage, is wooed by a young man who farms in the area. Although he is kind and intelligent, Emma persuades Harriet that he is beneath her. She convinces Harriet to refuse the farmer’s attentions and set her sights higher. While she pushes Harriet toward Mr. Elton, the vicar is actually hoping to impress Emma.

Meanwhile, Emma looks forward to meeting Mr. Weston’s handsome and mysterious son, Frank (Turner). When he finally appears, he leads Emma on, but it turns out he is secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax (Anderson) the beautifully sad niece of the tiresome spinster, Miss Bates (Hart).

After an astounded Emma refuses a marriage proposal from Mr. Elton, the vicar snubs Harriet by marrying a snobbish woman he barely knows. She becomes the new Mrs. Elton (Reynolds). Harriet then turns her romantic attention to Mr. Knightley, much to Emma’s consternation.

Emma’s matchmaking creates a tangled mess of emotions until she does what Mr. Knightley urged her to do all along. When she steps back, and allows people to follow their own hearts, true love draws people together naturally.

And Emma discovers that love is waiting there for her too, if she will only open her own heart.

Movie Review Emma dance
Movie Review Emma – the ball

My Thoughts on Emma

It’s interesting watching a new adaptation of this classic story. I’m so familiar with the dialogue, which is lifted from the novel, that I can quote portions of it as the actors say their lines.

However, I enjoyed the freshness of this version. The scenes are slightly different to very different from the 1996 film. And the actors brings their unique perspectives to the roles.

I loved Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse. He is an amazing actor and his performances make me smile, or in this film, laugh outright. His delivery style is perfect for the role of the solemn, fretful Mr. Woodhouse. Hands down, he is my favorite as this character.

Anya Taylor-Joy shines as Emma. It’s hard for me to see anyone but Gwyneth in the role, however Anya conveys the good-hearted if spoiled Emma perfectly. She’s excellent at allowing her expressions to speak volumes while she remains silent.

And I never thought I’d appreciate anyone as much as I appreciate Jeremy Northam in the role of Mr. Knightley. However, Johnny Flynn, whom I enjoyed as Albert Einstein in the Genius Series, won my approval. He’s mastered that stern, brooding look. When he turns it on Emma, she listens. And so do I.

Movie Review Emma Mr. Knightley
Movie Review Emma – Mr. Knightley

Emma Delights

If you enjoy period piece films or romantic comedies, catch this one on Prime Video. I love that the roles of novel author, screenplay writer and director are all filled by talented women. It’s incredibly fitting for a film about a woman with strong qualities and values.

And, I appreciate the opportunity to actually see this movie. I’m currently very concerned about the future of movie theaters. The impact of COVID19 is keenly felt in the film industry as it is in so many other areas.

I’m grateful for services such as Prime Video and Netflix, that offer an amazing assortment of films worth watching. However, I’m not ready to give up seeing movies as they are intended to be viewed…on a big screen in a darkened theater. Movies have greatly shaped my life. I’m holding hope in my heart that the industry will continue on for many years.

Have you seen the newest Emma? Rent it HERE and let me know if you enjoyed it!

Movie Review Emma Miss Woodhouse
Movie Review Emma – Miss Woodhouse

Amazon Prime Video

Not a Prime member? Get a 30 day free trial, and access to thousands of movies and series by clicking HERE.

Already a Prime member? Watch the rental or purchase the Emma DVD HERE.

And if you’ve never read this classic, pick it up below by clicking on the photo:



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Surrender 136: Emma’s Merry Birthday Party

I’ve participated in a Christmas in July celebration, where a traditional Christmas dinner is served and the atmosphere is festive, despite the sizzling summer temps. However, today was my first time to experience a Christmas themed birthday party, in May. I had the pleasure of accompanying Aubrey to this fun and unique party, the creative idea of Emma Reynolds, age seven. 

Emma and Aubrey share more than the same number of years. These little sweethearts are connected by a common family member, Dayan. He is Emma’s older half-brother, and Aubrey’s cousin. The girls have had opportunities over the years to play together and attend the same events. What fun to receive an invitation to a birthday party that not only had a jolly theme, but specifically, focused on a holiday favorite, the Christmas Elf. 

After all the attendees arrived and had a time of free play, the fun activities began. Emma’s mom, Kim, is wonderfully creative, and took great care in manifesting her daughter’s birthday wish. With the help of Emma’s dad Kevin, and big brother Dayan, the living room was transformed into an elf workshop. Each child received build-an-elf materials, so that he or she could create a keepsake to take home. 

Emma, the birthday girl. 

With a little help from Kevin and Kim, the kids had fun stuffing their elves. Christmas is a magical time. Each elf received a golden star to tuck inside and a sprinkling of magic dust. Bright green coats completed the elves attire, and then each child received an adoption certificate with his or her name on it and the name selected for the elf. I believe Emma named hers Chippie, while Aubrey selected the name Blue. This was a great activity that the children enjoyed immensely. 

The group gathered for a photo in front of the Ho, Ho, Ho backdrop…using cardboard props…

…and then it was time for sweet treats. Kim is not only an incredible party planner, she is a great cook too! Desserts included homemade cupcakes, “reindeer” chow and sugar cookies, plus tiny M&Ms and store bought Elf sandwich cookies. From the North Pole came a special delivery of Frosty root beers.  

The kids and adults sang Happy Birthday as Emma blew out a candle shaped like the number 7, perched atop her cupcake. 

In front of the fireplace, two small chairs awaited. Emma sat in one to open presents, inviting each child to join her by sitting in the second chair while she unwrapped her gift. What a great way to keep straight who gave which gift, and to honor both the giver and the receiver. Emma was enthusiastic in her response as each present was revealed, and gracious in her thanks. 

The party concluded with an interesting twist on a familiar game. As Christmas music played, the kids passed around a wrapped package. When the music stopped, whoever was holding the gift tore away a layer of paper. Amid much giggling and squeals, layer after layer was removed from the box. And inside the first box, was another wrapped box! The kids loved this game and it was entertaining to watch. At last the smaller box was opened to reveal Elf party bags to take home. 

Merry Birthday parties featuring the Christmas Elf are fun, I discovered today! Emma is an imaginative little girl to have dreamed up such a unique theme. And her parents did a wonderful job creating the decorations and activities. She is blessed with parents and an older and younger brother who adore her. 

Emma is a bright and beautiful girl, full of life and charm, with a healthy sprinkling of feisty independence. I look forward to watching her journey as she grows up! Merry Birthday, Emma!