Director: Autumn de Wilde
Screenwriter Eleanor Catton
Jane Austen novels are things of charm and this movie adaptation of her novel ‘Emma’ will not leave Austen fans wanting.
I must admit that after covering the Mardi Gras these last weeks, watching 'Emma' was a little like having a cup of Earl Grey after a diet of vodka and Red Bull. And an elegant cup it was, accompanied by little pink icing cakes served on exquisite plates in gorgeous locations. Director de Wilde’s background in eye-catching music videos is put to great purpose in ‘Emma,’ the sumptuous sets and costumes but one of the many dimensions of the adaptation that will delight.
The production value of de WIlde's 'Emma' is hard to fault as is her casting of Emma Woodhouse (played by doe-eyed Anya Taylor-Joy), perfect in her ability to portray our headstrong, spoilt heroine who dabbles far too much in the lives of others.
Austen’s use of behavioural hints and nuanced language is delivered with perfection in this adaptation. The telling conversations and interactions at gentle parlour gatherings and country picnics keep the viewers as engrossed as any sweeping epic and de Wilde delivers these core Austen qualities with wit and elegance.
An Austen novel tells us as much about the politics, class, intellect, taste and character of those at a high tea gathering as does the interaction of owners and staff in the architecturally designed trophy home of Bong Joon-ho‘s ‘Parasite’. So much about our fictional characters and the character of their societies is learnt by simply observing how they treat each other and the awareness they have of each other’s lot in life. As audience or reader, we know that a young man who would ride half a day for a haircut is obviously too vain for any young lady to seriously consider, while a spoilt young women who is prepared to hurt the feelings of a well-meaning bore for her own and others’ amusement still has some growing up to do.
De Wilde has sacrificed none of Austen’s signature detail and we happily watch on when our heroine and hero eventually snog at film’s end … Of course the footmen turn away while our young couple lock lips, while Emma and George Knightley are completely oblivious to their existence.
And who could not mention the ever fabulous Bill Nighy as Mr Woodhouse. Nuff said :)