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Emma - Film Review

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by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
Published February 23rd 2020
When marriage was the only goal for a successful life

'Vanity Fair is a very vain wicked foolish place full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions.' William Makepeace Thackeray

Thackeray was born in 1811 and wrote his famous work after Jane Austen [born 1773]. He describes the lives of the gentry of the 18th century succinctly. Emma was one of the last of over 10 novels Austen wrote, all describing the lives of the ladies and their loves mostly during their courting period.

'Life seems but a quick successions of busy nothings' are Jane Austen's words which describe the sum total of the goings on in this movie. This is the fourth film of this novel and I hope deliberately trite to echo the behaviour of these characters. Autumn de Wilde directed the film, written by Eleanor Catton.

Social standing and economic security - Emma had both, but nothing important ever entered her uneducated silly head. She was spoilt and pampered by an indulgent father who didn't want her to leave his home. Our heroine is completely concerned with pasting her time in meddling in the lives of those in her sphere of influence. She discourages a marriage between her 'dearest' friend because she wants to keep her as a pet. She observes all the niceties and protocols of polite society, but can be cruel to others less fortunate than herself.

There is chemistry between Emma Woodhouse [Anya Taylor-Joy] and Mr. Knightly [Johnny Flynn] and frankness only close friends can enjoy. All the characters are spoilt, have tantrums, disregard all servants and spend all their time on their personal needs. Emma's father [Bill Nightly] feels helpless without his daughter. Ms. Bates [Miranda Hart] is chosen to give the film some 'names'. Her character has some humours dialogue. Her role in life is to spread gossip, her way of being accepted. The ball (of cause there has to be a ball) is so long, I know the uncomplicated dance long before the end of the scene.

The empire line was in fashion in the early 18th century for women. All the costumes are splendid and flattering. The homes are lavishly furnished set in slumberous grounds. Transport is by horse or horse and carriage, life was leisurely, life was perpetual fun for the lucky rich few. The music is sweet and simple, women had to be accomplished at the piano and sing sweetly in a childlike manner to entertain their house guests. If that is enough, you may enjoy this movie, but dear reader I was unable to emotionally connect with these characters an important element to any story.

'I knew all along that the prize I had set my life on was not worth the winning'. Jane Austen.

I saw the movie at the Hoyts cinema at Erina Fair.

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When: Now showing
Phone: 0243461400
Cost: $12 with concessions
Your Comment
I remember studying this at school.
by May Cross (score: 3|6962) 166 days ago
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by John Andrew on 03/03/2020
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