Explorer Of Movies’s review published on Letterboxd:
* Immediately after the movie I wanted to scream, this is a perversion of Jane Austen and everything that great writer stands for.
* That would have been a bit extreme though not without some truth.
* Now that I have cooled down, I think the filmmakers either didn't understand the spirit of Austen (which is unlikely) or they wanted to do something "cool" with her material, which, according to me, made a mockery of her work.
* The movie has many funny scenes. Bill Nighy is awesome as usual.
* Those who haven't read any Jane Austen will have zero problem in enjoying this one as suggested by the high ratings all over. But people like me who love her great works, can't, sadly do that. (If someone loves JA's works and also love this movie, I don't really know how to respond to you)
Originally I gave this movie 2/5. But after I saw Emma (1996) which I really loved and gave 4.5/5 plus ❤, I decided to further reduce the score of this movie to 1/5. I have added my Emma (1996) review below to offer further explanation for my decision.
My Emma (1996) review
* In a world where this wonderful Emma adaptation made in 1996 already exists, what was the necessity for that horrible 2020 adaptation?
* The comedy of the story, Emma's wit and kind nature despite her flaws are logically portrayed here (1996 version) and brought to life brilliantly by Gwyneth Paltrow. I will never speak anything bad about Anya Taylor-Joy's work (who played Emma in the 2020 version) But the writer and director adapted it in the worst way possible in my view. We don't have any reason to like Emma in the 2020 adaptation. She is just an idiot. Eveything good about her is ridiculously omitted.
* Pride and Prejudice got a mainstream movie adaptation first in 1940 and then in 2005. (65 years of gap) There was obviously a logical reason for the new adaptation. Is there any similar reason for the gap of 24 years between the two Emma adaptations? It's not like this is sci fi and technology is suddenly better. What is there to improve on a 1996 romantic comedy? If the former version was a failure in the eyes of critics, the new adaptation would have made some sense. But Emma (1996) has a wonderful 85% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
If in the 2020 version had done something politically interesting like what Armando Iannucci did with David Copperfield (David Copperfield was played by Dev Patel), it would have made some sense too. But nothing of the sort happened.
* I gave Emma (2020) 2/5 when I saw it. At that time I didn't know there was a 1996 adaptation. With my new perspective I am even more angry at that movie and have decided to reduce it's score to 1/5.
* As a movie can't adapt everything in the original novel screenwriters have to make some important cuts. Two relationships are the most important part of this story. Emma's relationship with Harriet and Emma's relationship with Mr. Knightley. The 1996 adaptation brilliantly cut any unncessary details about Mrs. Goddard's school and focussed on these two essential relationships more than anything. 2020 adaptation stupidly didn't make any effort to show the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley in a significant way and wasted a lot of time on unnecessary plot details like Mrs. Goddard's school (unncessary as far as a movie adaptation is concerned).
* If you understand Jane Austen's world and sense of story, you know there is no place for any sort of nudity or unnecessary sexuality there. It is inappropriate. I am not a prude. Such scenes have their appropriate context. A Christmas family movie shouldn't have explicit sex or nudity right? It is the same thing. Not only that, that one scene felt like an afterthought by the end because after that nobody seemed interested in anything similar. So the tone was all over the place. This is what 2020 adaptation did. The 1996 one did not go for any such idiocy and was an almost perfect adaptation.
* Though I liked what Bill Nighy did as Mr. Woodhouse when I saw it (2020 version), after my experience with the true to original 1996 Mr. Woodhouse, I can't help but think about what Bill Nighy did as a gimmick.