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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic & entertaining interpretation of Austen's Emma.
This 1996 production of Emma is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining piece - thoughtful and true to the original work, with fine costumes and scenery. The original characters are brought to life on-screen effectively and believably. Kate Beckinsale makes a marvellous, entertaining Emma. This version is far superior to the more recent 1999 version (starring Gwyneth...
Published on 25 April 2000

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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but it's not the worst either.
Many mixed feelings about this adaption. I found the casting of Mr Churchill and Miss Fairfax was badly done, and some of the acting a little poor at times. But inspite of this I have to admit it stick closely to the original text, one of the most important things in an adaption of this kind. More of a film to watch for a serious literature lover than someone looking for...
Published on 30 Dec 2000


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic & entertaining interpretation of Austen's Emma., 25 April 2000
By A Customer
This 1996 production of Emma is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining piece - thoughtful and true to the original work, with fine costumes and scenery. The original characters are brought to life on-screen effectively and believably. Kate Beckinsale makes a marvellous, entertaining Emma. This version is far superior to the more recent 1999 version (starring Gwyneth Paltrow et al). The recent version detracts from the essence of the story with 'big names', exaggerated characters and scenes and generally looses (amidst stars, spoofing and glamour), the typical wry, under-stated English manner captured so well by Austen and portrayed delightfully in this earlier version of Emma. This earlier production of Emma has to be the choice, over the new Gwyneth Paltrow version, for Austen fans.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best adaptation ever of this wonderful book, 31 July 2002
By A Customer
This adaptation is yet more proof that Andrew Davies, the script writer, understands the essence of Jane Austen. It is beautifully cast and played, with special credit going to Kate Beckinsale for a wonderfully assured mixture of sense and romanticism, and the always excellent Prunella Scales. By keeping faithfully to the book it actually makes sense emotionally and in terms of plot, unlike the dreadful Hollywood version which garbled the Frank Churchill/ Jane Fairfax plot and generally misunderstood Emma's social standing by making her far too aristocratic. I am still slightly puzzled by Lucy Robinson's accent as MRs Elton (American? Bristolian?) but generally can't find fault with it. It ranks with the BBC P&P and Persuasion on my list of essential Austen adaptations.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An adaptation of Emma that is true to Jane Austen's text, 22 Oct 2004
This review is from: Emma [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This adaptation outshone the film version that came out in the same year by a long way. Kate Beckinsale was perfectly cast in the title role, and was actually consistent with the character as she was described in Jane Austen's book. The other characters are also true to Jane Austen's characterisation. Mr Knightley is played as the slightly melancholy man he appears to be in the book, and is consistent with the older and wiser character that he is meant to be. The period touches are excellent, as well as the subtelety in the contrast between the status of the characters. Prunella Scales shines as Miss Bates, portraying her both as the garrulous woman she is, but also as the vulnerable and lonely individual whose social status forces her to rely on the kindness and support of her friends. This is an overlooked Jane Austen adaptation, but one that is well deserving of admiration. An excellent purchase.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most pleasant performances of recent years, 9 Feb 2001
By A Customer
I loved this film. The acting was superb and I was particularly enchanted by the performance of Kate Beckinsale as Emma. It was the first time I had come across this young actress and was pleasantly surprised by her professionality. The rest of the cast was also very good and it is worth mentioning the fine performances of Prunella Scales and Samantha Morton who filled to perfection the roles of Miss Bates and Harriet Smith respectively. I notice with regret that this version is not available in DVD and hope that it will be in the future because, even if the Gwyneth Paltrow version is good, this I find much better and, as far as I'm concerned, Kate has as much talent as, if not more than, Gwyneth.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best adaptation, 21 Nov 2005
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This review is from: Emma [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
The crew, namely Andrew Davies as scriptwriter and Sue Birtwistle as producer, that adapted Pride & Prejudice (1995) on film did a fantastic job again.
Andrew Davies came up with yet another delightful, fresh and lively script.
The scenery was picturesque reflecting the social position and financial means of the characters, just like the costumes did, disclosing also lot of info about characters. Just think of the overdone robes and droll headdresses Lucy Robinson, as Mrs Elton, was wearing: showing her lack of taste and her desire in aspiring for higher status than she actually represents! And the elegant yet moderate clothes of Jane Fairfax showing no lack of taste, but of means. Simply brilliant!
All actors were superbly cast. Kate Beckinsale, as Emma and Mark Strong as Mr Knightley, Prunella Scales as Mrs Bates, Bernard Hepton, Samantha Morton, Raymond Coulthard ... and I could go on and on were all excellent, you could truly associate them with the role they played.
The adaptation as a whole had more depth than the Paltrow version and was more true to Jane Austen's spirit.
If you are a true Austen fan, you mustn’t miss this film!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent movie -nothing less!, 21 April 2002
By A Customer
This is a fabulous movie and you will want to watch it over and over again. I would recommend it to any fan of Jane Austen, costume dramas, love stories or just a good and well written story. I loved just about everything about it: The tale and the characters, the music, the locations and of course the actors who are all terrific. I especially enjoyed the chemistry between the two leads, really captivating. I must agree that this adaption is much better and more charming than the one with Gwyneth Paltrow. So just get it as soon as you can (did I mention that it is very funny as well?). Very good, very good indeed!
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Austen? You'll love this..., 17 July 2006
By 
K. L. Holt "Karenlee" (Utrecht Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emma [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
How do you sucessfully condense the masterpiece that Emma is into less than two hours? Although they have incredibly truncated the story and took some great liberties here and there, they have managed to do it. The essence and spirit of the story is not only left intact, but emphasised in exactly the points where it carries the most weight. So much better than the Paltrow version, where Emma's elegance, and not her ignorance, seems to be given more attention. Although I love Toni Colette, Samantha Morton was also a much more convincing Harriet Smith. I haven't really liked Kate Beckinsale in anything else I've seen her in, but here she's perfect (although not as conventionally 'beautiful' as you might expect). Her arrogance, on the other hand, is spot on. It makes the moment where she is standing by the window realising (tears coursing down her cheek), "I love him. I've always loved him," an incredibly humble and emotional acknowledgement - and victory - for both her and the viewer. And that's what it's supposed to be. My only complaint is that Knightly has been made a bit too explosive, especially in the first scene where he confronts her about her interference between Harriet Smith and Robert Martin. In the book, he's not a guy who runs 'hot' in his feelings. Which is why it perhaps took them so long to acknowledge what was between them. They took it a bit too far. But that is a minor complaint from a very demanding Janeite who otherwise found it an extremely satisfying (and that is saying a LOT) film version of Emma, that I'm sure I will watch time and again (with anyone else I can force into it :)
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Version Was Far Better Than The Paltrow Version, 17 May 2005
This review is from: Emma [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I saw this version out of curiosity as it hadn't recieved as much publicity as the Paltrow version, and I am very glad I did, Kate Beckinsale is perfect for Emma, and portrays her with more understanding and depth than Paltrow, who manages to get across the idea that Emma is simply flighty and selfish. Beckinsale is better in that she shows us this sefishness, but she also portrays the deeper insecurity and kindheartedness of Emma's character. Emma means well, but she doesn't often understand that she is making mistakes, and Beckinsale shows this brilliantly, Knightly, although not quite as good looking in this version, was far more forceful and seemed to eminate power! Really well cast. I loved the picnic scene where you saw the footmen struggling up the hill, and where Mrs E says 'I feel just like a shepherdess' before asking for her cushion to be moved a couple of inches by a loitering footman. Jane Fairfax was well done too, and the character of Mr Churchill was suitably arrogant, but very sweet at the end. Im so glad i picked up this version, I loved the book, but came discouraged from the Video because i didn't like Paltrow's version, but Beckinsale has restored my faith! please please please get this one, you definitly will NOT regret it
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Adaption of Emma I have seen, 14 Dec 2003
By 
Lynne Robson "Lynne" (Dronfield, Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I own both the Paltrow and Beckensale versions of Emma and found that Kate's Emma is more like the Emma in the book, the Paltrow version is pathetic as far as I am conserned as she makes Emma out to be a bit of a wimp. The Emma in the book is not at all like that also Jeremy Northan did nothing for me as Mr Knightley I am afraid. I loved most of the characters in the Kate Beckensale version as they seem to match the characters in the book.
I really loved the character Miss Bates played by Prunnella Scales she is wonderful and Mr Churchill was nice as well and he did not look an idiot like in the paltrow version to me that was the real turn off. Mr John Knightley and Isabel were given more of a part in the Beckensale version and even Mr Elton looked something more of a cleric and Mrs Elton was good as well were as to me the actress in the paltrow verson was not that good. I felt that Jane Fairfax's character needed more to it but it came over as it did in the book.
My only beef was the ending it did not stick to the ending in the book. All in all I would recommend this video or DVD to anyone who is Austen made as they will love this version of Emma, Andrew Davis the screen writer who wrote Pride and Prejudice has done a wonderful job again in adapting one of Austens book and I think that Miss Austen would be well pleased with what she sees in this version of her wonderful book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good and true adaption, 30 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I have to agree with the previous review. This version is by far much better than the 1999-one with Gwyneth Paltrow. This is charming and entertaining adaption with many layers in the story (as Jane Austen's novel) while the newer adaption focus on famous actors and pretty scenes.
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Emma [DVD] [1996]
Emma [DVD] [1996] by Diarmuid Lawrence (DVD - 2004)
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