Emma
PG
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: +3 1/2

The title role in this adaptation of Jane Austen's 19th century novel, is played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Emma Woodhouse is a misguided but charming and proper young English lady who has appointed herself the village matchmaker. The film opens at the wedding of her much-loved former governess (Greta Scacchi), whom she has successfully matched with a kindly widower. Immediately, Emma targets her next project - a suitable suitor for Harriet Smith (Toni Collette), who is rather plain, slightly plump and not very perky. Even though Harriet is being pursued by a local farmer, she is flattered by Emma's attention and is easily convinced to reject the socially inferior farmer. As with mice and men, the matchmaker's best laid plans go awry as disastrous misunderstandings follow. Devastated Emma laments, "How can I be almost 22 years old and still have so much to learn?" Meanwhile, in the background observing these manipulations is Emma's friend, handsome, perceptive Mr. Knightly (Jeremy Northam), who obviously loves Emma. Of this summer's movie menu filled with killing, destruction and crude bathroom humor, this witty, clever film is the season's choice dessert. Teenagers and adults will chuckle at the 19th century social customs, yet identify with the timeless longing to love and be loved. Don't miss EMMA!

Emma is more than a piece of fluff. The well-meaning matchmaker learns some very important lessons of life that apply to us today. While her motives are noble, her methods are sometimes questionable. Several times she conveniently changes her definition of "socially acceptable," depending on who she is matching. She also makes fun of a very homely old maid behind her back while pretending to be her friend. On a picnic with friends, Emma gets caught up in her own clever remarks and openly insults the spinster. Later, Knightly spares no words as he admonishes Emma for her cruelty, bringing Emma to tears. She repents and subsequently starts to "mend fences" with the woman. Knightly is a caring man who rescues wallflowers at balls and tries to discourage Emma from interfering with others' personal lives. The film has no offensive elements, except for one exclamation of "Good God!" We hope Hollywood continues to adapt some of the old classics for the big screen. Congratulations, Miramax, and thanks for bringing us EMMA.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Exclamatory once (Good God)
Violence: Once - Moderate (women accosted by men, one knocked down)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some social drinking
Other: Importance of knowing your limitations and meaning of friendship stressed
Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)