Director Douglas McGrath took on a challenge when he agreed to direct Emma, a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic. It is always a gamble for a director to take on a much loved story for film, but McGrath has succeeded spectacularly in this lavish love story. Austen’s novel adjusts wonderfully well to the big screen, virtually lending itself to such purposes with unforgettable characters and witty dialogue. McGrath remembers to add to his film what so many other Austen adaptations have lacked -warmth. Emma is the story of a young woman’s personal growth and maturity, but McGrath never lets his audience forget that the film is a romantic comedy for their enjoyment. Emma Woodhouse is the daughter of Mr. Woodhouse, a rich gentleman living in their small country town of Highbury. Emma’s mother has died and her older sister has long since married and left home. Emma has no need to marry, so she is left to her own devices – and what Emma likes to do above anything else is match make. She has already “married” her old Governess to the respectable Mr. Weston, and flushed with success, is on the lookout for some other lonely soul. Emma’s attempts at matchmaking go horribly wrong when she settles on the orphaned Harriet Smith in the worst way possible – Mr. Elton, the local reverend, falls for Emma instead! Towards the end of the film, however, Emma steers away from matchmaking as she learns the hard way about how exemplary she is to the rest of the residents of Highbury. As in all traditional romantic comedy, Emma learns the error of her ways and even discovers attractions of her own towards the handsome Mr. Knightley. In this way, Emma is a film that cannot be taken very seriously – in real life, such Director Douglas McGrath took on a challenge when he agreed to direct Emma, a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic. It is always a gamble for a director to take on a much loved sto…
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