Emma

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997


Vanity, working on a weak mind, produces all sorts of mischief.

Gwyneth Paltrow is absolutely perfect in her casting as Emma Woodhouse, the young English high society girl whose charm far exceeds her matchmaking abilities. The latest in adaptations for the screen of the works of Jane Austen, "Emma" is a refreshing change from the more contemporary comedies that rely on sex and flatulence jokes to carry them.

It is only poverty that makes celibacy contemptible. A single woman of good fortune is always respectable.

If you have seen "Clueless" from Amy Heckerling (based on the same Jane Austen novel), essentially you know the story. We follow Emma, a facetious girl whose intentions are good, on her rounds in the gossip circles of her town as she tries to find a match for her friend, Harriet (Toni Collette), while ignoring her own love life. Of course, Emma makes a mess of things and everyone falls in love with someone else.

There is only one thing to do with a person as impossible as she... I must throw a party for her. Otherwise everyone will see how much I dislike her.

The dialogue, editing, and music capture the subtle wit of Austen's writing. Even if you are not a big fan of nineteenth century literature, you'll probably find this an enjoyable diversion, and compared to the whole slew of recent Austen adaptations ("Sense & Sensibility", "Persuasion", etc.), I found this one the most enjoyable. And if you have seen "Clueless", it is also interesting to see the many parallels between the two films.


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