Emma. ★★★★★

Honestly? I don't know if this story can be told any better than this.

I haven't read Jane Austen's "Emma", but I've read "Pride and Prejudice" and I have seen "Clueless" so I knew what to expect. I knew that Emma Woodhouse is an upper crust socialite whose hobby is matchmaking. She pairs people she knows together, mostly for her own amusement and largely regardless of people's feelings. Astoundingly, Emma's matches usually seem to work out. She has no interest in matching herself with anyone, however. She doesn't want to leave her poor defenseless father (the magical Bill Nighy) alone as her sister did when she thoughtlessly went off and got hitched. Of course, in a story like this, there are bound to be complications. One of those complications involves a less fortunate girl (Mia Goth) who Emma has befriended and wants to guide toward a suitable and upper class match. But the biggest complication comes when Emma, unsurprisingly, finds herself falling in love.

The costumes, locations and production design are beautifully extravagant and absolutely tantalizing to the eye. The cinematography has a great deal of flair and life to it as well. This film is a banquet for the eye, nourishing the centers of the brain that thrill at lovely dresses and decadent hats (the way my wife spoke of those hats, after seeing a trailer, I knew that was the film's main draw for her) and further quenching a viewer's desire to see enormous, gorgeous castles and picturesque views of the English countryside.

But the ear will be likewise nourished by the delirious, delightful banter and dialogue exchanges. A lot of costume films treat the prose of a renowned classic author as though they should be placed on a pedestal, under a glass case, and studied with a scholarly contemplation. "Emma" delivers the dialogue as people would actually say it. It rolls off the tongues, hits sparks against the surroundings, and evokes big laughs. Like the rest of the film, it is lively and infused with energy. "Emma" is not afraid to have fun with its characters and the way they speak to each other. It feels lived in and electrifying, in a way that a lot of these films do not. I simply couldn't stop smiling while watching this film. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the atmosphere...I loved everything, quite frankly. Every element of this film (especially the performances, and especially the performances of Anya Taylor-Joy, Johhny Flynn and Mia Goth) works magnificently and effervescently. "Emma" finds the emotional depth behind all of this as well. It is effortlessly winning and engaging and nearly moved me to tears on a few occasions...mostly tears of joy.

Maybe you think "Emma" is not for you but, trust me, if you have two eyes, two ears and a heart then you need to see "Emma" and, I daresay, you'll probably love it.

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