OPINION: “Emma.” is worth screening

Autumn de Wilde’s “Emma.” has been released in theaters.

Autumn de Wilde’s directorial debut, “Emma.” is now showing at the Regal Downtown West Cinema.

“Emma.” is a comedy of manners that was written by Jane Austen. The film recounts the tale of Emma Woodhouse, who is a self-proclaimed matchmaking expert in Georgian and Regency era England. The film follows Emma as she meddles in the lives of her friends and neighbors, giving the audience the joy of seeing the results of her interference.

The film currently has a critic’s rating on 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. “Emma.” brought in $230,000 during its limited release in less than 10 theaters last weekend. Additionally, it has a total gross of $6.9 million since its release three weeks ago.

Some familiar faces appear in the cast

Previously starring in “Split,” “Glass” and “The Witch,” Anya Taylor-Joy plays Emma. Bill Nighy, who starred in “Love Actually” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” depicts the role as Emma’s hypochondriac father Mr. Woodhouse. Additionally, Josh O’Conner, who is part of Netflix’s “God’s Own Country” and “The Crown,” plays the village’s energetic vicar Mr.Elton.

The humorous depictions of the lesser-known cast members’ characters quickly attract the audience’s attention as well.

In attendance of the film was community member Sarah Miracle.

“Going into this movie, I thought it was going to be just okay, but I was actually really surprised to find myself laughing throughout the entire thing,” Miracle said. “Well, sometimes movies just try to be funny, but the funny parts of this was just how the characters were just like regular people but quirky and awkward.”

Where the film succeeded

“Emma.” found its success through symmetry, sound, costuming and cast.

Fans of Wes Anderson’s cinematic style will encounter the same type of satisfying shots in this film. Symmetrical shots of long walks down country lanes, revealing conversations in portrait galleries and comedic moments in rigid church pews add to the seemingly perfect existence of Emma’s experiences.

Any film featuring this style of witty comedy should master the art of the awkward pause, and “Emma.” achieved it perfectly. The comedic pauses wouldn’t have been as well-timed without the film’s score, which advanced the awkwardness and humor in many otherwise dull pieces of dialogue or actions. A nomination for best score would not come as a surprise.

The film’s costumes justified the purchasing of the tickets. Any fan of this period style clothing will enjoy seeing Emma’s elaborate, color-coordinating gowns, headpieces and overcoats. Clothed in ornamental night jackets and unique patterned sets, Mr. Woodhouse and his eccentric personality shine. Adding transparency and relatability to the film is the awkwardness of being dressed by a lady’s maid or valet.

Casting for this film was remarkably done. Each character portrayed the silliness, absurdity or simple-mindedness intended. Nighy perfected the role of Emma’s hypochondriac father, and his lines and actions were delivered in a way that could result in nothing but a laugh. Taylor-Joy’s stiff, yet proper, movements and piercing looks advanced Emma’s superior and graceful character. Harriet Smith, played by Mia Goth, was hilariously silly and altogether naïve.

The verdict

“Emma.” elicits an uncontrollable smile and many laughs during its two-hour run time. Even those who usually shy away from “artsy” films will love this movie. It is easy to understand the comedy throughout. Hilarious scenes quickly replaced the few slow moments in the film.

Many different groups of people were in attendance at the theatre. This would be an equally good occasion for a date night, girls’ night or mother/daughter date.

 

Edited by Gracie-Lee Strange and Grace Goodacre

Featured image by Loren Provins