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6.72 h 4 min2020X-RayHDRUHDU
Jane Austen's beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this delicious new film adaptation of Emma. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town.
Autumn de Wilde
Amber AndersonMiranda HartRupert Graves
English [CC]
Audio Languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Supporting actors
Mia GothJohnny FlynnAnya Taylor-JoyJosh O'ConnorTanya ReynoldsCallum TurnerBill NighyGemma Whelan
Eric FellnerGraham BroadbentTim BevanPeter Czernin
Focus Features
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.2 out of 5 stars

9826 global ratings

  1. 58% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 18% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 12% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

RussellReviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 April 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Clumsy, possibly well meaning, but ultimately badly done Emma
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GOOD - the art direction, costuming, and attention to period detail is superb
BAD - this is a clumsy, careless adaptation that stumbles with its desire to not tax the audience with subtlety and then crashes headlong with its desperation to be in line with modern sensibilities.
VERDICT - Avoid. There are better versions. Nearly any other version to be specific.

THERE are so very many adaptations of this well loved book, particularly in the last few decades, indeed 1996 was The Year Of The Two Emmas. Thus any new version has to in some way distinguish itself from earlier productions. This is an issue for all the big 3 Austen novels; Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma.

In order to deal with it, the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley got some acclaim for supposedly introducing passion into what can initially look like a very restrained story. This adaptation seeks to do the same for Emma, having the main romantic leads shouting over one another to indicate strength of feeling. This trend is rapidly getting boring and in this production it is even more jarring, and less convincing.

The 2009 TV miniseries of Emma distinguished itself by the lead actress managing to convey the character's spoiled and superior nature as well as her goodness and warmth. The Emma in this version is pure Mean Girl without the kindness that allows the viewer to root for her. The epiphany after the Box Hill picnic is garbled, unconvincing and leaves the suspicion that this Emma is still self obsessed in her contrition.

Probably the this movie's biggest crime though, is in its attempt to make Mr Knightley more 'appropriate' for Emma. They've chopped a decade off him to avoid icking out the audience, they've changed him from an accomplished, perfectly mannered, slightly austere character to one who bumbles around, sings with the ladies during recitals and makes no secret halfway through the movie of his infatuation with Emma. This last totally undermining the later plotlines and denouement of the story.

It is a sad watering down of Mr Knightley. He is no longer a perfect foil for Emma, bringing stability and patience to her passion and social luminosity. This is indeed the function of his age in the novel and the thing that makes him stand out from the Frank Churchills and Mr Eltons that comprise the other possible suitors.

It is not all bad though. I will say that, given the poor casting, script writing and directorial decisions, the lead actor and actress do a very good job with what they can. Anya Taylor-Joy manages to convey the sense of social distance between Emma and the other women in the story in a way that is often lost in other versions in an attempt to humanise her. In addition, the sets, costumes, and attention to period detail are fantastic, the coral jewellery is particularly on point. The costume designer may, however have been a little off with the dandified version of Mr Woodhouse.

I'm sure it's been said in other reviews, but stick to the 2009 version. Maybe the eponymous heroine is a little too accessible, and it may not have as much of the original dialogue in it, and but what it has is in the right dramatic order and much more intelligently applied. It actually has a Knightley worth the name but much more importantly you actually care about the characters.

This version tries, it really does, but you can't help getting the feeling that in an attempt to be relevant to a modern audience it totally misses the fact that it already was.
102 people found this helpful
Stephen BishopReviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 February 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Highly effective
I saw this film at the cinema - more than once. However, it has to be recognised that not all fans of the Austen novel will like the film, even though the script follows the book pretty faithfully - apart from omitting some of the 'detective' elements of the story. Austen said that no-one but she would like her heroine, but the film walks that tightrope very successfully; Anya Taylor-Joy's lead character is certainly exasperating and vain but is performed in a very engaging manner. It may be that the best acting performance is Mia Goth in the difficult role of Harriet. Generally speaking, all the performance are adequate or better and the casting generally is successful with even brief roles such as Chloe Pirie's cameo as Emma's sister Isabella being memorable. Robert Martin is also memorably cast and performed.

There has been criticism of the soundtrack. It is certainly unusual for this sort of film but is used with great elan. I found it apposite and not as intrusive as for example the excessive use of the 1995 BBC-TV P&P theme music.

The main thing dividing opinion about this film is likely to be the direction by Autumn de Wilde , which turns this into something of a comedy of manners as well as a romance and a detective story. I think it is highly successful in doing so, but purists may disagree. The direction accords perfectly with the highly stylised production and costume design, which are ravishing. The director is not afraid to play for laughs, usually involving Bill Nighy, who is sometimes close to over the top.

There are moments which are not as successful as they might be - the key point in the Crown Inn ball is not as effective as it might be, for example and the gypsy episode is awkward. On the other hand, the final coming together of the hero and heroine is better than in the book - how to handle Austen's sometimes brief endings has often been a difficulty for film and TV adaptations.

I certainly intend to buy the blu-ray disc as soon as possible.
110 people found this helpful
heidiousReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 April 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
A lot of money, not much Austen
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I am so very disappointed, I was hoping this would be THE adaptation of Emma I could love. It has everything, the cast are wonderful (Bill Night is always brilliant and I love Miranda) the set, costumes and setting are breathtaking and the budget must have been impressive! However, for me, this Emma is not likeable. She goes through a personal journey towards improvement in the book (assisted by her harshest critic, Mr Knightley) but she is not so disagreeable as she is portrayed here. She has much softer edges and a less brittle demeanour, despite her occasional transgressions. This Emma is not at all likeable and Mr Knightley is nowhere near 16 years her senior - a fact that is jarring given his constant interference in her daily doings. He's supposed to be an authoritative, slightly stern figure, the total lack of regard to maintaining even a semblance of the huge age gap just renders him bossy and his rants look almost comical - they're almost petulant! My daughter watched it with me and has never read the book, she was left confused by the story line and needed constant clarification of the plot. This is because the script was confusing and tied itself up in knots trying to stay faithful to the original, while removing enormous chunks to fit into a more ideal running time. Always a trial for any film adaptation, some manage it better than others, this really missed by some way.

Overall it was not an entirely unpleasant way to spend an evening, but I certainly won't be watching it again.
37 people found this helpful
Cris RogueReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 April 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best adaptation of this book
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My favourite adaptation so far. In the other ones, the character has been made easy to be loved, however, in this one her growth is what makes you ending loving her.
Besides, and spite of this doesn't happen in the book, you can also see how Knightley's feelings evolve. And I like that.
The chemistry between the main characters can be chewed.
And the final is great, I don't care it doesn't follow the book. It's a mixture of funny and effectiveness, as it shows clearly the struggles of Emma's mind.
32 people found this helpful
AndreaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 09 June 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Awful bubblegum coloured tripe! Don’t bother with it. Awful
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Bubblegum coloured tripe. It’s one of the WORST Jane Austen adaptations I have ever seen. I don’t know how some reviewers call it the best. It is even worst than the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice and this tells a lot. The actors are flat, there is ZERO chemistry between the main characters, our heroine Emma is cut from a thin slice of marble with zero emotions and acting skills. The music (what’s with all the church choirs?!) does not match the scenes or the atmosphere.
It was so unsatisfactory that I would have rather sat in a room listening to someone pulling a nail across a blackboard than having to put up with this. I ended up fast forwarding the last 20mins just to end my own suffering.
26 people found this helpful
Kizzy BeagledoreReviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 June 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Awful - a horrible filmed version of a great book
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*Spoiler Alert - I mention plot details in this review*

This is a prettily shot film with some stunning photography and lovely also has a bizarre musical score, dreadful script and some awful casting.

Firstly, why oh why cant casting directors read the physical descriptions of characters and find an actor who fits them? Sometimes, as in this case, its actually important to the plot. Mr Knightly is supposed to be( initially) the elder brother figure to Emma ( the older brother of her sister's husband) not a young handsome man. Miss Bates ( despite the lovely Miranda Harts best efforts) is a middle aged lady not a woman who appears barely older than her niece Jan Fairfax

Secondly this oddly shot piece presents the stories in a series of short jerky encounters that often seem completely unconnected and really hinder a complete understanding not just of the story but the relationships between characters. There is no attempt to acclimatise an 21st century audience with the social context of the time, meaning that the drama of Harriet's social position ( and why Mr Elton would never consider her a suitable match) and the scandal of Jane and Franks engagement(and thus the light it throws onto his behaviour with Emma) just never have the impact they should.
Emma comes across as spoilt and petty without ever really completing her character arc as in the book making Mr Knightly's love for her seem to come only from her good looks and position.

This was all look and no substance and should be avoided like the plague by Austen fans - I only gave it 2 stars because the clothes were pretty and it gave me a chance to get my teenage daughter interested in the book!
15 people found this helpful
movie loverReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 April 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
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The cast simply don't have a feel for the subtleties of Austen's characters; the comedy or the drama. It was painful to watch. Emma came across as a cold, feelingless cutout of a character, with none of the underlying qualities that help the viewer to understand her essential good will or naiveté. When a new adaptation of a book by Jane Austen comes out, I am always eager to see it and to like it. In this case it was simply impossible. I couldn't find anything to like other than some pretty costumes and, of course, the beautiful English countryside. Given the potential of this story, that isn't saying much...
14 people found this helpful
Four VioletsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 05 April 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Trying too hard to be quirky
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It is impossible when watching a film like this not to have a previously made and loved film in mind - comparisons will be made.
I had never seen Johnny Flynn or Anya Taylor-Joy in anything, which is always a good thing, and I couldn't fault their parts in the film. Anya's Emma was not as likable as Gwyneth's, and I felt that her Mr Knightly was too young which is strange because the Gwyneth Paltrow/Jeremy Northam pairing were actually slightly closer in true ages.
Miranda Hart as Miss Bates, Bill Nighy as Emma's father, Josh O'Connor as Mr Elton, and particularly Tanya Reynolds as Mrs Elton, did brilliantly.
But the film didn't really know what it was or what to do with itself. The houses were far too grand, there were too many servants, and the servants were in a different film, all stylised and almost about to break into a song and dance routine. The actual dancing scene among the chairs was embarrassing, and a lot of the music was very odd and jarring. The director was trying to pack too much in and trying too hard to be quirky.
It was okay, Anya Taylor-Joy did contrite very well, and the costumes were lovely.
10 people found this helpful
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