Combustible Celluloid
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With: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Josh O'Connor, Callum Turner, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Bill Nighy
Written by: Eleanor Catton, based on a novel by Jane Austen
Directed by: Autumn de Wilde
MPAA Rating: PG for brief partial nudity
Running Time: 124
Date: 03/06/2020

Emma. (2020)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Austen Love

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Following in the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale, who both played Jane Austen's titular matchmaker in 1996, Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the role in Emma. (2020), with its own, defiant period added after the title. Emma befriends Harriet (Mia Goth) and then subtly tries to manipulate everyone around her into, and out of, love affairs and creating several intersecting triangles in the process. Fortunately, director Autumn de Wilde keeps it all bright and shiny and clear, and, for what could have been a stuffy costume piece, it's remarkably entertaining. One brightly-decorated sequence takes place at a Christmas dinner, making it a perfect holiday treat. Johnny Flynn plays the boy who finally wins Emma's heart, and Bill Nighy steals every scene he's in as Emma's wry father, sitting behind an elaborate series of screens to prevent drafts from reaching him while he warms himself by the fire.

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