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4.3 32
Director: Diarmuid Lawrence

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Olivia Williams, Jane Austen


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In this made-for-TV adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, Emma Woodhouse (Kate Beckinsale) is a clever young woman from a wealthy family who fancies herself a matchmaker and tries to find a husband for her shy friend Harriet (Samantha Morton). However, Emma's skills in bringing romances together are not all she imagines them to be, which causes no small annoyance


In this made-for-TV adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, Emma Woodhouse (Kate Beckinsale) is a clever young woman from a wealthy family who fancies herself a matchmaker and tries to find a husband for her shy friend Harriet (Samantha Morton). However, Emma's skills in bringing romances together are not all she imagines them to be, which causes no small annoyance for Harriet. What's more, Emma's interest in the affairs of others nearly causes her to miss out on the love of her life. This adaptation of Emma was first shown in the U.S. on the A&E cable network; it followed both Douglas McGrath's acclaimed film version starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Amy Heckerling's considerably updated variation on the story, Clueless.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
British author Jane Austen's most engaging matchmaker, Emma Woodhouse, comes delightfully alive in this 1997 film set in the town of Highbury, England, in the early 1800s. Kate Beckinsale is absolutely superb as Emma, a snooty busybody who will invade any drawing room at any time to pair an eligible bachelor with a marriageable maiden. Infusing her role with impish charm, Beckinsale both captivates and exasperates Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley, an honest, level-headed gentleman who deeply loves her, but cannot say so. Because the film is faithful to the novel, the story abounds in dramatic irony. For example, while making her matches (usually bad ones), Emma fails to notice that Knightley loves her even as he fails to notice that she loves him. Meanwhile, hapless Harriet Smith (Samantha Smith), Emma's dimwitted protégée who has been rejected by the Rev. Mr. Elton (Dominic Rowan), sets her cap for handsome Frank Churchill (Raymond Coulthard), even though he already has a wife, the beautiful Jane Fairfax (Olivia Williams), whom he married in secret. The dialogue is scintillating, but sometimes cruel as upper-class snobs prey on their lower-class victims. At a hillside picnic catered by starched servants, even winsome Emma takes part in the sport, insulting a old Mrs. Bates (Prunella Scales), a spinster who lacks the cleverness to fight back. Emma's reprehensible behavior earns her a cutting reprimand from Knightley, and tears streak her face as she begins to come to grips with her prejudices. Strong is good as Knightley, seasoning his character with a gruff exterior that belies his inner goodness. As the plot boils and thickens, Knightley one day confronts Emma with an important announcement. Will he ask her for hand? Or will he say goodbye for the final time? The period apparel and music are marvelous, and the film well deserved the Emmy awards it received for art direction and costume design.

Product Details

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Acorn Media
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Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Emma
1. A Wedding [8:57]
2. A Charming Picture [9:36]
3. Visiting Knightleys [11:07]
4. Apologizing to Harriet [9:35]
5. Frank Churchill [9:20]
6. Evening Entertainment [13:05]
7. Not Missing Frank [10:27]
8. Finest Fruit in England [9:00]
9. Word Games [8:16]
10. Engagements [11:59]
11. Very Good News [9:44]


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Emma 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
JoannaTX More than 1 year ago
I own all three versions of Emma, and this one is my favorite. Kate Beckinsale makes a SUPERB Emma, leaving Gwyneth Paltrow miles behind. Though Jeremy Northam made a handsome and perfect Mr. Knightley, this guy playing Knightley - whoever he is - also does a fabulous job. You can feel you're watching a JA movie when you watch this one, unlike the other version. Even if you haven't read the book, you will enjoy this movie! A definate recommend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How is it that the other Emma - starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam - has 5 stars and this one only has 4?! It's outrageous! That one is okay, I'd give it 3 stars. But this one is much much better! More enjoyable, more real, more everything. Emma isn't a bad person, but she's a conceited snob - it takes time for her to realize this and improve herself. This movie shows it much better! You can watch both if you like, but you'll realize that this one is BETTER!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I own all three versions of Emma - the 1971, this one with kate Beckinsale, and the one with Gwyneth Paltrow. This is definately the best one!! Paltrow and Northam do a good job in the other version, but this one is undoubtedly superior. Beckinsale also does not only a better interpretation of the the character Emma, but she also has more personality in this version. If I could, I would drag Northam into this version (but this Knightley did a good job), that would make it perfect! Anyway, this version is made for all audiences: the fans and just those people who didn't read the book but want to watch a nice romance. Watch it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is my favorite adaptation of Emma...Witty, funny, romantic. Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong are the perfect Emma & Mr. Knightley.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great movie, much better than the Gwenyth Paltrow version! This one not only looks older (the book was published in the 1800s) but the costumes are more realistic for that era and the acting is defenitely MUCH better. I HIGHLY recommend this version over the version with Gwenyth Paltrow!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Douglas McGrath brought much more vigor and verve to the screen in his adaptation, though Andrew Davies follows the novel more faithfully in scene and sequence. While McGrath's direction energizes a rather static novel, Diarmuid Lawrence contents himself with a more quiet direction which, though competent, lacks imagination. The principals in both versions are well cast, and though I prefer Gwyneth Paltrow's and Jeremy Northam's interpretations, I would have liked to see what Kate Beckinsale and Mark Snow could have done under different direction. Lawrence chose to direct the comic EMMA in a serious tone, which I think hinders the production overall. Still, I found the supporting cast in the A&E version much more to my liking. Bernard Hepton's interpretation of the querulous Mr. Woodhouse brings to life a "troublesome" character. The always brilliant Samantha Morton shows ahe can play even a dimwit brilliantly. James Hazeldine as Mr. Weston hits just the right notes of affability and energy: we would have had an admirable Weston household if he had had Greta Scacchi to wife and Ewan McGregor as his foppish son (though I must say that the smarmy Raymond Coulthard had much better hair--a not inconsiderable aspect of Frank Churchill's character). Both Dominic Rowan and Alan Cumming put in excellent performances: but, again, I think Diarmuid Lawrence's direction hindered the comic effect of the character. The scene of Mr. Elton's drunken declaration of love to Emma, on the carriage ride home from the Christmas party, illustrates well the different tones of the two productions. Cumming plays it comic and exuberant Rowan, serious and ardent. Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma is shocked, angry and sullen at the declaration Kate Beckinsale's merely acts annoyed and slightly disgusted. Olivia Williams, as Jane Fairfax, brings much more depth to the role than does Polly Walker (though apparently everyone agrees on Jane's type and if Olivia Williams had been in the production with Greta Scacchi, we would have had trouble keeping the characters straight), but in the role of her aunt, Miss Bates, I prefer Sophie Thompson's spirited portrayal, shouting key words at her deaf mother, giggling nervously between half-sentences, funny even in her mortification at Box Hill. And Box Hill represents the turning point of the story, where Emma at last begins to change in response to Mr. Knightley's cajolery. The A&E version handles this key scene better: the playing at word games, the party's discomfit, the tension between Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax. Generally, the A&E version handles the story's climax and denoument with greater control, even--in a departure--inventing a warm banquet scene which excels the novel's ending but Mr. Knightley's proposal to Emma in the Miramax version is more protracted and less static, creating a more powerful emotional release. If only Douglas McGrath could have gotten hold of the last twenty pages or so of Andrew Davies' script, he might have avoided all that messy Harriet stuff hanging at the end of his own. And if he'd cast his supporting players from the A&E cast list, we might today have a perfect screen adaptation of EMMA.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed ''Emma''. My first purchase was ''Pride and Prejudice''. Now I am a true Jane Austen fan. Excellent movie. Kate Beckinsale is so cute. Mr. Knightly is very handsome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Each version of this Austen classic adheresto the basic plot. The viewer knowing thestory then is placed in the position ofdirector and casting director to decide whichproduction is the favorite. I have yet to find the absolute perfect cast -- I would bemixing and matching, taking the actress fromone, pairing with the actor of another, inthis or that setting. Still, this is a fineproduction. Kate Beckinsale provides thecorrect amount of painful snobbery. Buy thisversion as a keeper get them all, comparethem, enjoy the classic and escape to anothertime!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen all three versions of Emma, the one with Doran Godwin, the one with Gwyneth Paltrow and the one with Kate Beckinsale and I loved all three versions! This is the DVD for the A&E version that stars Kate Beckinsale and it is a superb movie and she and Mark Strong who plays Knightley are wonderful and the rest of the cast is great too, especially Samantha Morton as Harriet Smith. I highly recommend this DVD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kate Beckionsdale version much better than the Gwyneth Paltrow one mainly doue to the direction and adherence to text.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this version of Emma. The acting is wonderful and you are not distracted by big name actors. You will find it refeshing. It is good for the whole family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Pride and Prejudice, but Emma is a slower read and the movie does a much better job telling the story. Opted for the version with Kate Beckinsale, not a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow. Although I love Kate in other movies, especially Underworld, and even though she is actually British, a plus, she seemed to struggle a bit with the acting, in the beginning at least, maybe because it was one of her earlier films. All in all this is a wonderful movie.
granny1MO More than 1 year ago
The kind of movie you want to watch over and over!
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