Thursday, July 16, 2009

Emma (1996)

Cupid is armed and dangerous!

A film based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. Directed by Douglas McGrath, it stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette, and Ewan McGregor.

Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a congenial young lady who delights in meddling in other people's affairs. When her governess is married and goes to live with her new husband, Emma is triumphant, saying that she made the match herself. Her old friend, George Knightley (Jeremy Northam), tries to discourage her from doing this again, but she does not listen to him. She immediately introduces the newly-arrived local minister to a local girl, Harriet Smith (Toni Collette). Emma and Harriet become steadfast friends, but unhappily, while trying to get the minister and Harriet together, Emma herself becomes the person that the minister fancies. Harriet's heart is broken, but she tries to move onward.

When Frank Churchill (Ewan McGregor) enters the picture, Emma thinks herself in love, but she soon realizes she is not. She then tries to match Frank and Harriet together, but her former governess tells her that he has secretly been engaged to an acquaintance of Emma's, Jane Fairfax (Polly Walker). When Emma tells the news to Harriet, Harriet then informs her that she is not in love with Frank, she is in love with Mr. Knightley! Emma then realizes that she is in love with Knightley as well, and does not know what to do. Mr. Knightley then returns from seeing his brother, and after they see each other again, he tells Emma that he is in love with her. She is overjoyed, and they become engaged. When Emma relays the message to Harriet, Harriet is once again heartbroken, but a few weeks later gets a second proposal from Robert Martin, an old friend of hers--a man whose initial proposal near the beginning of the movie Emma had encouraged her to reject--and she accepts. Emma and Harriet both end up happily married, along with the Churchills.

Although in general staying close to the plot of the book, the screenplay by Douglas McGrath enlivens the banter between the staid Mr. Knightley and the vivacious Emma, making the basis of their attraction more apparent.

Emma (1996) - Trailer

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