emma (2020) trailer

‘Emma.’ (2020): This is the Comedy without All the Romance

May 30, 2020 7 Comments

Though the plan was to see this in theaters, as is true of any Austen adaptation, my plans didn’t work out. Emma. (2020) has lots of versions but this latest one takes a much different approach.

Emma. (2020) Film Review

For the entire sum of her 21 years of life, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) has little care in the world. She’s wealthy and pretty and quite the apple of her father’s eye. Her neighbor and sister’s brother in law, George Knightley (Johnny Flynn, Vanity Fair) likes to challenge Emma and together they are never far from a new sparring match. Cause for further disagreement arrives when Emma tries to match up her new friend, Harriet (Mia Goth) with a most unsuitable match. Thus begins the story of Emma Woodhouse.

Told form many different storytellers, Austen’s “satire” novel has been produced many a time. 2020 seemed the year to color the feisty heroine in a new way, and oh boy,is this ever a new canvas to color. Between the color palette that frames this story and its fresh faced case, it certainly has a unique viewer experience, and look.

LIST | 20 Happy & Silly Movies to Watch on a Night In (Just Because)

Surface level, this version is quite entertaining – I did laugh, a lot. That said, this is not the nostalgic version we are accustomed to. In fact, not only is this true, but here, we see an adaptation that operates as a straight up comedy. While this means there are lots of laughs, the usually lovely love story suffers.

The romance of Knightley and Emma is always one of my favorites, but we don’t see its beauty with exception to one sequence that is stunning. Everything else just… fails in regards to their story. Here’s my thought on different ways to tell a story when we see something made and re-made so many times. The truth is, I do admire the desire of a creative to re-tell a story in a way we haven’t seen it, and this is apparent in Autumn Wilde’s vision.

LIST | Faces of a Fairytale Romance: The ‘Beauty and the Beast’ One

From the gender swap piano scene to “enough said” title statement, and the “wild” sense of color and music, this one does stand out. But in this creative quest to be different, we also lose a lot of what makes Emma, Emma. For instance, the one “big” romantic moment we always anticipate as each script builds is absent. There’s something to be said for eliminating what makes a story the nostalgic piece of cinema we still love to see, even after all of its many variations.

The cast isn’t bad and also includes Miranda Hart (Call the Midwife); Bill Nighy; Rupert Graves; and Josh O’Conner (The Durrells). The one thing I will say about Anya’s portrayal of this titular character is that while she doesn’t play her “wrong,” I do think she doesn’t strike the right balance between being teachable, as in wanting to learn, and being a bit of a “snob.” Still, as I reference earlier, to make up for some flaws, there is the dance sequence and its aftereffect, which is all I can say for fear of spoiling the moment. Just trust me, it’s a good sequence. Watch, and then (please) come back and chat up Emma. (2020) and all its good, bad and adorable.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Emma. (2020) digitally on Amazon Video or on DVD


‘Emma.’ (2020): This is the Comedy without All the Romance. A review of the Autumn Wilde adaptation of the Austen classic. Text © Rissi JC
‘Emma.’ (2020): This is the Comedy without All the Romance. A review of the Autumn Wilde adaptation of the Austen classic. #EmmaMovie #Emma #JaneAusten #Romance #PeriodDrama Click To Tweet

Content: There are two brief instances of nudity [one full backside male] and perhaps a minor innuendo. This one rates PG.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

All posts


  • Brittaney B May 31, 2020 at 8:36 AM

    You pinpointed exactly what I felt about this movie. for all the things I enjoyed about it, in the end I didn’t like it at all. Not only did the love story feel a bit lackluster but it also stripped the depth of emotional ties in the other relationships, which is what I love about the story. Emma herself was rather unlikable and unbalanced as a character. But almost everyone else seems to love this new version, so I’ve felt rather alone in my opinions…until now.

    • Rissi JC May 31, 2020 at 12:16 PM

      YES! I’m so glad I’m not the only one that feels the love story is just… off. I mean, I think I like the cast for the most part, but there’s that sense of “first love” that is MISSING so terribly. Anya doesn’t really play Emma “wrong” per se, but she doesn’t balance the “snotty” part of her with the part that WANTS to learn.

      I too am SO glad to know I’m not alone, Brittaney. In fact, when I published this I felt like I’d be the lone person with these thoughts. Everyone on Instagram was raving about it when it came up on the digital platforms.

  • Tracy @ Cornerfolds May 31, 2020 at 11:06 AM

    I’ve been on the fence about this one, but it does sound good! I love Anya Taylor-Joy! I’m sorry it wasn’t a win for you.

    • Rissi JC May 31, 2020 at 12:18 PM

      Hope you enjoy, Tracy! (Everyone loves it, so again, I feel like this is a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation.) I did enjoy aspects of this one, it’s just, ultimately, in no way “my” version. I’m re-watching the BBC one (again) in a space of three weeks, and find it SO adorable. Which is your favorite?

  • […] FILM REVIEW | ‘Emma.’ (2020): This is the Comedy without All the Romance […]

  • […] FILM REVIEW | ‘Emma.’ (2020): This is the Comedy without All the Romance […]

  • […] be curious to see how filmmakers would adapt it. What this does remind me of is the stylings of Emma. from 2020. This one also plays on some flirting here and there, which can be cute. Without the expectation of […]

  • Leave a Reply

    (Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

    Bonjour and Welcome!

    Welcome | thank you for visiting and reading. if you like, you are invited to join our conversations and follow along – join us.  You’re most welcome.
    Read more about Finding Wonderland

    ps: please excuse the “disorder.” you can read more about Finding Wonderland’s changes, new follow options and why archive posts are a mess in my “Disorder + Feedback” post!

    Finding Wonderland Elsewhere!

    Finding Wonderland in your Inbox!

    Subscribe! Have Finding Wonderland's new content sent to your inbox; sign up for our once (or twice) monthly round up of new content. If you'd like to have this newsletter sent to your inbox, you can enter your email address here. Please note, this does require a sign-up confirmation via email, and that email may be sent to a junk or spam folder.

    RSS Feed

    Enter your email address:

    Shop our Etsy Store



    Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive (a small) compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you.

    Rissi JC (RissiWrites.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

    All written content (unless noted) is © Copyright Rissi JC and Finding Wonderland (RissiWrites.com).


    %d bloggers like this: