Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 2h05m
A new adaptation of the great Jane Austen novel revels in visual and verbal invention without ever forsaking the letter.
At the rarefied estate of Hartfield, the wealthy and precocious Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) discovers that she has a talent for matchmaking. She vows to wield it for the sake of her friends and neighbours — regardless of their own desires. While attending to her anxious father (Bill Nighy), she seeks the most pleasing union for her hapless acquaintances, to the dismay of her sagacious neighbour Mr Knightley (Johnny Flynn).
Thanks to an inspired choice of writer and director — rock photographer Autumn de Wilde and award-winning novelist Eleanor Catton — the film triumphantly has its cake and eats it. The film faithfully adheres to Austen’s diamond wit and absorbing character while slathering it in a sumptuous, sugary, yet suitable visual style.
Instead of the pale porcelain of typical Austen adaptations, the film imagines the Regency as an absurdly serious, colourfully self-contained wonderland, a style that intensifies Austen’s own.
The stunning English landscapes and supporting actors ground the theatrics, leaving a truly novel adaptation that is neither staid nor indulgent.