Wednesday, November 25, 2020

“Emma” – Victorian Matchmaking Gone Awry

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use,
Poster for Emma. By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use

If you want to escape for a couple of hours into British aristocracy, then Emma allows you to do just that. Considering the influence of all six of Jane Austen’s novels, this story, written in 1815, has had universal appeal through the decades. Many remember the more modern-day version in the 1995 “Clueless” movie and other adaptations on both television and film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale. This version has no recognizable stars, but the entire cast does an admirable job pulling off this period piece full of stunning costumes, complete with bonnets and stuffy collars put on masters by their servants.

- Advertisement -

Emma Woodhouse, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, lives in the quaint village of Highbury, complete with a haberdashery. Living a life of privilege with her funny, doddering father, played by Bill Nighy, in the austere, statue-filled Hartfield House, Emma is predictably bored. She fancies herself a matchmaker and occupies her time helping others find their soulmates, while she herself has decided never to marry. With one successful union under her belt, her second attempt is with schoolgirl Harriett Smith, played convincingly by Mia Goth. Smith is an orphan and as the story unfolds, she hangs on Emma’s every word and follows her everywhere. It is delightful to see the spoiled Emma challenged when rival Jane Fairfax, played by Amber Anderson, shows up.

Emma has much to learn about love as she meddles in the lives of others.  Austen famously once remarked that Emma was “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,” but even though she is snobby and cruel at times, she has a likable spirit. When everyone else’s romance is finally sorted out, after learning of a secret engagement and re-enticing Smith’s suitor, Emma can finally see her own secret crush and act on it with the beguiling, down-to-earth neighbor George Knightly, played by Johnny Taylor, who walks everywhere rather than taking his fancy carriage. The living room scene where her humorous father calls for the servants to strategically place screens around the room for warmth and privacy is particularly amusing.

It’s fun to immerse in this very proper world where manners are everything and everyone is called Mister, Miss, or Missus. Austen’s stories have a distinctive literary style which shines through in this critical and humorous glimpse into a year in the life of Emma. The costumes are impressive, and my friend Carolyn thinks they deserve to be nominated for an academy award. The dry wit humor keeps you smiling throughout; and the bullet pudding scene, where the girls place a coin on top of a mound of flour and then slice it until the last girl has to put her face in it, is especially appealing. You won’t be disappointed with the gorgeous cinematography, as it showcases ethereal fields and magnificent mansions, and don’t forget about those incredibly detailed period costumes.

Movie times: click here

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Director:  Autumn de Wilde

Written by:  Eleanor Catton

Actors:  Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Conner

Running Time: 124 minutes

Rating: PG

Support Coronado Journalism

Your support will help to expand coverage of the issues, people and events happening in our Coronado community. Local news matters!
Support The Coronado Times

Keep it civil. Comments may be removed or closed if they violate Terms of Service.

Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


Election Integrity

Submitted by Frank CorahIt is vitally important in this contentious Presidential election that the American people, regardless of their political persuasion, trust the election...

Fate of The Ferry Landing Marketplace at Risk

Submitted by Marilyn FieldBad news for those who appreciate the quirky charms of The Ferry Landing Marketplace buildings: their fate is hanging in the...

This Isn’t Coronado

Submitted by Carolyn RogersonRecently Coronado has been in local news and national social media for a sad, shocking reason. Those who would not like...

Nick Kato for CUSD School Board 2020: Video Interviews

Submitted by Nick KatoHello Coronado! I’ve collected the various video interviews I’ve done with notable and well-respected members of the community. I’ve been so...


Mel Moore (1929-2020)

He served his country proudly in Korea and Vietnam as a pilot in the US Navy. In 1967, at the age of 38, Captain...

Health Officials Urge You to Keep Holiday Celebrations Small, Short and Safe

Given the surge in San Diego County cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, County health officials are urging San Diegans to keep Thanksgiving and...

Giving Thanks by Giving Back – Thanksgiving Meals to the Monarch School (video)

They are giving thanks by giving back… Coronadoans are providing 600 Thanksgiving meals today across the bridge to the kids of the Monarch School,...

Council Covers Parker Pump Station, Winn Room Upgrade, and Port Master Plan and More

The City Council meeting on November 17 started out on a positive virtual note with winners from the City of Coronado Recreation and Golf...

Nighttime Curfew Ordered for San Diego County, and Others in Purple Tier

The state has issued a limited curfew for all counties in the Purple Tier of its COVID-19 risk assessment system, which includes San Diego County.The curfew...