The review of Autumn de Wilde’s “Emma” that I am about to place in your hands is the fourth time (that I can think of) that I have written about Jane Austen. I focused my undergraduate thesis on three of Jane Austen’s novels, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion. I covered female friendships in a piece featured in Aubrey Fink’s The Bridge, and I wrote “As If!: How Amy Heckerling’s Clueless Pays a Lovely Tribute to Jane Austen’s Emma” for this site a few months back. De Wilde’s “Emma” gives me another unique privilege in that I get to witness Jane Austen portrayed in a new light that I have not witnessed before. I have seen a majority of the previous Austen adaptations and have read almost all of her novels (almost). I also get to write about a Jane Austen marriage that strikes me as incredibly unique. De Wilde’s “Emma” remains historically accurate in matters such as wardrobe and story, with a few twists to this classic love affair.
The second I saw the trailer for director Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved comedy “Emma.”, I just knew that it was something special. Even as someone who wasn’t familiar with the book in the slightest, there was just something so visually appealing and intriguing and it looked to kick off an incredible year for Anya Taylor-Joy. Now, that the film has finally hit theatres, it has met and exceeded my expectations and bolsters some of the strongest performances we’ll likely see this year – especially from Taylor-Joy.
I walked into the screening for this film without any knowledge of the story nor have watched any previous adaptations. I'm a sucker for period pieces and after watching the trailer to this film, I immediately knew this would be on my to watch list. "Emma" is directed by Autumn de Wilde and it stars Anya Taylor Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Myra McFadyen, Josh O'Connor, and Callum Turner. This film follows the "Handsome, clever and rich" Emma Woodhouse who's been meddling in other people's lives as a matchmaker. The costume design and production design are the strongest suits in this movie. Oh gosh, the costumes in this film are gorgeous. The attention to detail in the movie is impeccable.
When I tell friends, family, colleagues, and the occasional random stranger that Amy Heckerling’s 1995 off-the-wall, colorful, and downright entertaining teen comedy, "Clueless" (starring Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, and Brittany Murphy), is an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, "Emma" (published 1815), most are shocked. Flabbergasted, if you will. In fact, most of these people are not familiar enough with the story of "Emma" itself to note the similarities between Heckerling’s film and the novel.
In August, Gurinder Chadha’s latest film “Blinded by the Light” (2019) was released. It tells the story of a young Pakistani man in England who finds his voice through Bruce Springsteen’s music despite struggling with discrimination. It’s hardly the first time that Chadha has explored the theme of cultural inclusion, exclusion, and immigration. Chadha herself is an Indian woman raised in England so she brings her personal experiences to the films she writes and directs, including her most famous “Bend It Like Beckham” (2002). The release of her latest film seems like a good time to revisit one of her earlier works, “Bride and Prejudice” (2004), which often doesn’t get the credit it deserves.