‘Emma.’ dazzles with period drama flair

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Emma. / Focus Features / IMDb / Fair use

“Emma.” is a period drama that follows the story of the famous Jane Austen novel.

*This article contains spoilers for the movie “Emma.”

Jane Austen: a name known by many. Considering the popularity of her books, it isn’t surprising that many TV shows and movies have been based on her stories. Among these is the movie “Emma.”

Directed by Autumn de Wilde, “Emma.” is the poster child of a modern period drama. Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a young lady in the regency era(1811 to 1820) who enjoys matchmaking to pass the time, though she swears she’ll never marry. With two successful matches (her sister and her governess), Woodhouse begins looking for new victims. She tries to set up her friend Harriet Smith with the local reverend, Mr. Elton (Josh O’Connor), but that backfires when Elton falls in love with her instead.

Later, Jane Fairfax (Amber Anderson) arrives in town, and Woodhouse dislikes everything about her. Fairfax arrived roughly the same time as Frank Churchill (Callum Turner), with whom Woodhouse begins a budding romance. As the movie continues, Woodhouse must navigate through love for Churchhill and her long-time friend George Knightly (Johnny Flynn) and Smith’s feelings as she falls in love with multiple men.

This movie stands out, particularly because of the sets. Hartfield (Woodhouse’s home) is painted in beautiful pastels that draw the eye and give a feeling of luxury. The Outdoor filming locations also give off a whimsical aura that reflects the nature of the story.

These sets make the movie enjoyable and pleasing to the eye, especially compared to its 2009 TV show counterpart by the same name. In HBO’s TV show “Emma,” the sets are much duller, and the colors clash. In this case, the movie definitely takes the cake.

In “Emma.” many of the characters are unlikeable for many reasons. Some are spoiled, some are rude, and some just lack basic social skills. All of the actors don’t try to make you fall in love with their characters. They are very authentic. Ironically, this makes the audience like the movie more because while it is a different time period, the characters feel like real people, and the audience can relate to them.

One actor that does this exceptionally well is the lead, Taylor-Joy. She plays Woodhouse as the glorious brat she is, and it’s very refreshing, especially compared to other period dramas, such as Netflix’s “Bridgerton,” where all the actors seem to play their characters as likable to the audience. The realness of these characters is one of the best parts of the film.

While this movie is pleasing to the eye and has a fantastic cast, the transition music lacks. This may seem like a trivial detail, but some of the music between scenes pulls you right out of the scene and leaves you confused. In a transition to a peaceful scene, there will be intense operatic music, and it feels almost uncomfortable audience.

Overall, “Emma.” is a wonderful and intriguing movie with great visuals and actors. While the production team may not have picked the best music, it’s easy to overlook because of the quality of the film.