Aronne Ibarra’s review published on Letterboxd:
That's two Anya Taylor-Joy films in a span of a few hours. She's one of the best and finest rising stars today and she delivers again in Autumn de Wilde's feature debut, Emma..
Emma. was full of superb roleplaying, with refined performances from romantic leads Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn and show-stealing acting from Mia Goth, Josh O'Connor, and Bill Nighy among others.
The screenplay is more or less a straightforward adaptation of Jane Austen's novel. It was certainly witty and comedic, while subtly developing themes of societal divide and the manipulative rich, pride (and prejudice), love and marriage, and repressed expression in 1800s England.
You cannot talk about Emma. without its gorgeous cinematography. It's a lushly photographed period piece, sometimes echoing Barry Lyndon. Autumn de Wilde's photography background definitely played a massive part in making one of the most scenic pictures of this year.
The costume design and the makeup are all things taking note of too, and are predictably going to be nominated for some Academy Awards. The score is great and regal but its use could've been cut down a bit so as to not undermine the emotions playing out in a certain scene.
Emma. is a technically-marvelous film. It's not the most transportative period piece in my opinion but I did like parts of it. Even after all the Austen adaptations up to this point, Emma. feels fresh and is probably one of the better ones to date, but take this with a grain of salt since I haven't seen many.
To be honest, I'm not very fond of these period melodramas and I was hardly moved nor was I very interested. I think people will like this a lot more than I do but Emma., you could say, is worth watching for its plush audiovisual treats and faithful onscreen literary representation.