Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. United Kingdom/USA, 1996. Haft Entertainment. Screenplay by Douglas McGrath, based on the novel by Jane Austen. Cinematography by Ian Wilson. Produced by Patrick Cassavetti, Steven Haft. Music by Rachel Portman. Production Design by Michael Howells. Costume Design by Ruth Myers. Film Editing by Lesley Walker. Academy Awards 1996.
Excellent adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel has a superior performance by Gwyneth Paltrow in the role of the matchmaking socialite living in the English countryside. Emma, having already taken care of marrying off her governess and best friend (Greta Scacchi), now has the daunting task of finding a perfect mate for her new best friend (Toni Collette), all the while fending off the advances of the man (Alan Cumming) she wants to set her friend up with. Of course, when a charming and handsome stranger (Ewan McGregor) visits the little town, Emma realizes there’s nothing against her finding a little action of her own. Literally overflowing with memorable performances, it features excellent turns by Jeremy Northam as Knightley, Sophie Thompson as Miss Bates, Juliet Stevenson as a hilarious Mrs. Elton and Polly Walker as a lovely Jane Fairfax. There’s really not one thing worth pointing out above the other in this thoroughly enjoyable film: Douglas McGrath’s script is equally flawless to his direction, Rachel Portman’s musical score is probably her best ever, and the sets and costumes are opulent to infinite proportions. Rent this along with its modern adaptation, Clueless, and enjoy a great evening of matchmaking brilliance.