Classic literature enthusiasts should warm to this latest engaging instalment of Jane Austen’s Emma.
Living on a beautiful country estate with her draft-obsessed father (Bill Nighy), Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) is vain, snobbish and well-meaning in her way. She enjoys match-making, and although declaring married life is not for her, shows a keen interest in the extremely well-landed Frank Churchill before even meeting him. And while she enjoys being mentor to young, innocent and less-landed Harriet Smith (Mia Goth), her long-time friend George Knightley is always there to remind her just how much she doesn’t know.
Taylor-Joy’s Emma is less light-hearted than others and offers more depth, while Callum Turner is impeccable as the tortured Knightley. The rest of the ensemble cast are also flawless. Director Autumn de Wilde has avoided the temptation to overdo the comedy, which comes out in the story; each character, you feel, has something at stake.
Reviewed by Craig Coventry