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Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Amber Anderson, Tanya Reynolds
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Jane Austen’s romantic comedy directed by Autumn de Wilde. Emma. (2020) centers on Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy), a young woman, who lives in Georgian and Regency-era England and occupies herself with matchmaking, in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion, in the lives of her friends and family.
Our Favorite Quotes:'We all know at times what it is to be wearied in spirits. Mine, I confess, are exhausted.' - Jane Fairfax (Emma.) Click To Tweet 'Time will heal the wound.' - Mr. Knightley (Emma.) Click To Tweet
The movie opens by introducing Emma Woodhouse as, “handsome, clever, and rich, who had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”
Emma Woodhouse: How am I to bear it when you are gone?
Miss Taylor: I am going only half a mile, Emma.
Emma Woodhouse: But great is the difference between a Mrs. Weston half a mile away, and a Miss Taylor in the house.
Mr. Woodhouse: [as they are getting ready to go to Miss Taylor’s wedding] Poor Miss Taylor! It’s a pity Mr. Weston ever thought of her.
Emma Woodhouse: Papa, Mr. Weston is such a good-humored, pleasant, excellent man. He thoroughly deserves a good wife. And you would not have had Miss Taylor live with us forever when she might have had a house of her own.
Mr. Woodhouse: A house of her own. Where is the advantage of a house of her own? This is three times as large. It’s entirely unnecessary.
Mr. Woodhouse: Poor Miss Taylor. Poor Isabella.
Emma Woodhouse: My sister married seven years ago, Papa. You must be reconciled to it by now.
Mr. Woodhouse: That was a terrible day.
Emma Woodhouse: [as they’re riding in their carriage to Miss Taylor’s wedding] It shall always be a matter of great joy to me that I made the match myself. Everyone said Mr. Weston would never marry again, but I did not believe it.
Mr. Woodhouse: Emma, you should not make matches or foretell things. Whatever you say always comes to pass. You must not make any more.
Emma Woodhouse: I promise to make none for myself, Papa. But I must indeed for other people. It is the greatest amusement in the world. And after such success, you know.
Mr. Elton: [as the wedding ceremony begins] Dearly beloved friends, we gather here in the sight of God to join together this man, and this woman, in holy matrimony. An honorable estate instituted by God in this time of man’s great inno-cence.
Mr. Woodhouse: [to Emma] Inno-cence? Innocence. No?
Mr. Knightley: How do you do? I came to wish you joy.
Mr. Woodhouse: Joy? Oh, the wedding. What a terrible day.
Mr. Knightley: So how did you all behave? Who cried the most?
Emma Woodhouse: We all behaved charmingly. Everybody was in their best looks. Not a tear, and hardly a long face to be seen.
Mr. Knightley: And what of Mr. Frank Churchill? Is he every bit as handsome as his father promised he would be?
Mr. Knightley: [as Emma is silent] He did not come?
Emma Woodhouse: [gives Knightley a letter] You see, he wished exceedingly to come, but his aunt and uncle could not spare him.
Mr. Knightley: Well, I dare say he might have come if he could.
Emma Woodhouse: I do not know why you should say so.
Mr. Knightley: If Frank Churchill had wanted to attend his father’s wedding, he would have contrived it. He chose not to come.
Emma Woodhouse: You’ve never met Mr. Frank Churchill. We do not know what he is able, or unable to do.
Mr. Knightley: There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do if he chooses, and that is his duty. It is Frank Churchill’s duty to pay this attention to his father.
Emma Woodhouse: He also has a duty to his aunt, who is unwell.
Mr. Knightley: Mrs. Churchill has been unwell for as long as she could say so. Her nephew is not a doctor. If he had told her simply, and resolutely, that he must attend his father’s wedding, there would have been no opposition to his going.
Emma Woodhouse: You are the worst judge in the world, Mr. Knightley, of the difficulties of dependence. You’ve always been your own master. You’ve no idea what it is to have tempers to manage.
Mr. Knightley: Well, I shall remember that next time you quarrel with me.
Emma Woodhouse: [as Harriet pays her a visit for tea] The Martins are of precisely the order of people with whom I feel I can have nothing to do. A degree or two lower might interest me. If they were very poor, I might hope to be useful to them in some way, but a farmer can need none of my help, and is therefore as much above my notice as he is below it.
Harriet Smith: Mr. Robert Martin went three miles one day to bring me walnuts, because he knew how fond I was of them. I believe he’s very clever. He understands everything.
Emma Woodhouse: [referring to Frank Churchill] There is such symmetry between us. We both lost our mothers when we were very young. And he has his aunt to care for, as I have Papa.
Harriet Smith: I do so wonder, Miss Woodhouse, that you should not be going to be married. So charming as you are.
Emma Woodhouse: I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Fortune I do not want. Employment I do not want. Consequence I do not want. I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband’s house as I am of Hartfield.
Miss Bates: Miss Woodhouse, I bring happy news. We have had a letter, this very morning, from my niece, Jane Fairfax.
Emma Woodhouse: I hope that she is well.
Miss Bates: In normal course, she writes on a Tuesday, but today was… Oh, her health. Oh, Miss Woodhouse, you are so very kind to inquire.
Emma Woodhouse: [to Harriet after listening to Miss Bate’s latest new on her niece, Jane] Heaven forbid that I should ever bore anybody half as much about all the Knightleys together as Miss Bates does about Jane Fairfax. One is sick of the very name “Jane Fairfax”. Every letter from her is read forty times over. And if she does but knit a pair of garters, one hears of nothing else for a whole month.
Harriet Smith: [after seeing Robert Martin on their walk home] Only think of our happening to meet him. Well, Miss Woodhouse, is he like what you expected? What do you think of him?
Emma Woodhouse: I had no right to expect much. And indeed, I did not expect much, but I had imagined him, I confess, a degree or two nearer gentility.
Harriet Smith: To be sure, he’s not so genteel as to a real gentleman.
Harriet Smith: Mrs. Martin thinks you the most handsome woman in all of Highbury.
Emma Woodhouse: [laughs and Knightley stares at her] You must never flatter me in front of Mr. Knightley, Harriet. He thinks me vain enough already.
Mr. Knightley: I do not think you personally vain. Considering how very handsome you are, you seem little occupied with it. Your vanity lies a different way.
Emma Woodhouse: [to Harriet] Did I tell you what Mr. Elton said of you the other day? He called you “loveliness itself”. It seems to me his manners are rather softer than they used to be, and I rather wonder whether he means to ingratiate himself with you.
Mr. Elton: [referring to Emma’s drawings] These are exquisitely done, Miss Woodhouse. You have a charming talent.
Emma Woodhouse: I dare say there is merit in them, in the least finished perhaps the most. So Mr. Knightley tells me, and he finds fault in everything I do.
Mr. Elton: [referring to Emma’s painting of Harriet] Mr. Woodhouse, your daughter’s gifts are without compare. Bear witness.
Mr. Knightley: You’ve made her too tall, Emma.
Mr. Elton: No. No, certainly not too tall. Not in the least too tall.
Mr. Woodhouse: Yes, it is very pretty. When it is finished, you must have it framed.
Mr. Elton: Allow me. Trust me with this commission, Miss Woodhouse, and I will ride to London the moment I am asked. It would be my great honor.
Emma Woodhouse: [to Harriet, referring to Mr. Elton] I cannot have a moment’s doubt. It is exactly as I planned. He’s in love with you.
Mr. Knightley: I do not know what your opinion may be, Mrs. Weston, of this great intimacy between Emma and Harriet Smith, but I think it a bad thing.
Mrs. Weston: How differently we feel.
Mr. Knightley: Miss Smith knows nothing about herself and looks upon Emma as knowing everything. Her ignorance is hourly flattery.
Mrs. Weston: But educating Harriet will be an inducement for Emma to educate herself. They will read together.
Mr. Knightley: Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years-old. She never would submit to anything requiring industry and patience.
Mrs. Weston: I cannot allow you to be a judge in this matter, Mr. Knightley. You are so used to live alone, you do not know the value of a companion.
Mr. Knightley: Well, she always declares that she will never marry, which, of course, means just nothing at all. I should like to see Emma in love, and in some doubt of a return. It would do her good.
Harriet Smith: Miss Woodhouse! You will never guess what has happened! Robert Martin has offered me his hand. He writes as if he really loves me very much.
Harriet Smith: [Emma takes the letter and starts reading it] Is it a good letter? Or too short?
Emma Woodhouse: It is a very good letter. So good I think one of his sisters must have helped him.
Harriet Smith: But what shall I say? Dear Miss Woodhouse, do advise me.
Emma Woodhouse: Oh, no, no, no. The words must be your own.
Harriet Smith: [referring to Robert Martin’s marriage proposal] You think I ought to refuse him?
Emma Woodhouse: I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him.
Harriet Smith: Perhaps, it is safer. Do you think I had better say no?
Emma Woodhouse: Not for the world would I advise you either way. You must be the best judge of your own happiness.
Harriet Smith: I have now quite determined, and really almost made up my mind, to refuse Mr. Martin.
[Emma looks relieved]
Mr. Knightley: Refused? Then she is a greater simpleton than I ever believed her. Harriet Smith refuse Robert Martin? I hope you are mistaken.
Emma Woodhouse: I saw her answer. Nothing could be clearer.
Mr. Knightley: You saw her answer? You wrote her answer. This is your doing. Emma, you persuaded her to refuse him.
Emma Woodhouse: Well, if I did, I should not feel that I had done wrong. Mr. Martin’s a respectable young man, but I cannot admit him to be Harriet’s equal.
Mr. Knightley: No, indeed, he is her superior in both sense and situation.
Mr. Knightley: Emma, your infatuation about that girl blinds you. What are Harriet Smith’s claims, either of birth, nature, or education, to any connection higher than Robert Martin? She’s the natural daughter of nobody knows whom.
Emma Woodhouse: There can scarcely be a doubt that her father is a gentleman, and a gentleman of fortune!
Mr. Knightley: Probably no settled provision at all, and certainly no respectable relations!
Emma Woodhouse: [as they continue their argument over Harriet] Her allowance is very liberal. Nothing has been grudged for her improvement.
Mr. Knightley: She is known only as a parlor boarder at a common school. She is pretty, and she is good-tempered, and that is all.
Emma Woodhouse: That is all? These are not trivial recommendations, Mr. Knightley.