Emma. ★★★

Recommended by Zayaan

"Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want."

Opulence rules in the breathtakingly gorgeous world of Emma. Every scene is adorned in stunning regalia and pristine sets that transport you to the world of its carefree universe. It's all so damn pretty to behold that I almost want to forgive it for giving us a treatment that feels rather unremarkable.

The performances, as one would expect, are terrific and alongside the splendor of its production values, make for a dazzling watch on strictly technical terms. So where did this fall short of the other Jane Austen adaptations I hold in high esteem (the pinnacle being Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice)? Well, part of it is due to a certain pervasive predictability that overshadows damn near everything that takes place in this. The knowing stiffles the sparks that should otherwise crackle. Another part is the lack of an X factor. Whereas Love & Friendship leans into wicked humor and Pride & Prejudice falls head over heels with its romanticism, Emma. is comparatively devoid of a secret sauce. That said, I wouldn't mind putting this on in the background and letting its regal aura wash over me whenever I feel like turning up the fanciness in my place.

P.S. Thank you for the recommendation, Zayaan! I'm glad I was able to get lost in the English countryside for an evening.
P.P.S. Anya Taylor-Joy, Josh O'Connor, and Callum Turner are too beautiful to be put in the same film together.
P.P.P.S. Did anyone else feel like Johnny Flynn was miscast in this? The Paul Rudd to Alicia Silverstone's Cher he is certainly not.
P.P.P.P.S. Speaking of Clueless, that certainly did this story better.
P.P.P.P.P.S. The easiest way for me to root for a film is to give me Bill Nighy so good on this for giving that delightful man more opportunities to make us all smile when we (and it) need it.

Cult of Personality 2020

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