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Emma 2

An archival review of Emma 2.

Emma 2: Chick Flick!

By Jenny Mills and Kara Wilson
Argosy
1996

Chick flick! To some people, giving a film this label is an insult. In this case however, it's highly apt. There is nothing quite like the sense of female bonding created by a strictly female audience. Of course any man would have been entertained as well, if he ventured into Austen's humourous portrayal of the dawning of the Romantic movement in England.

This wasn't just a spur of the moment decision to go see Emma. This was an entire Austen night planned and looked forward to for weeks. As nice as male companionship can be, there are just some events that are necessary to be spent with only a group of girls. Just as men have locker room bonding experiences, women have great English romantic films.

It was obvious that we were headed into strictly female territory the moment we entered the theatre and noticed there was only one man sitting there. We couldn't help but feel sorry from him as our group of women alone proceeded to fill the surrounding two rows.

Of course the night began, as any "girls' night" should with an informal wine and dessert gathering, accompanied by good conversation. Then onto Phase 2, being the viewing of the film.

Overall, we loved this film. Clearly, the entire audience seemed to have an identical reaction to ours, considering that our laughter was so perfectly synchronised that one may believe it was cued. Emma was based on the Jane Austen novel of the same name. This film follows the trend of adaptation of Austen's novels to the screen over the last few years (Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and TV's Pride and Prejudice). The violence of our times has obviously caused us to reach back to the more gentle times of the past where the greatest concern was making the perfect marriage match. And so begins Emma.

Emma is the story of Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow), a young busybody, who is far more concerned with her friends' happiness than her own. Throughout the movie, Emma schemes to set up her friend, Harriet Smith (Toni Collette, Muriel's Wedding) in marriage after having successfully matched her governess at the beginning of the film. As Emma states herself, "The most beautiful thing in the world is a match well-made". The humour comes from the fact that Emma serves as a caricature for every well-meaning but meddling friend we've ever had. You all know her: That woman who thinks she knows far better than you who your perfect match is when typically she couldn't be farther from the truth.

Gwyneth Paltrow portrays Emma superbly with an ever so subtle accent that does not seem out of place in any way. This stellar cast also includes Jeremy Northam, Greta Scacchi, Alan Cumming, and Ewan McGregor, who is better known for his starring role in Trainspotting, a role which we felt McGregor fit better than his role as Frank Churchill in Emma.

The scenery, costumes, and dancing added an air of authenticity to the film. The dancing scene especially was tremendously romantic and well-played. Of course a girls' night would not be complete without a post-film discussion at a nearby coffee shop. The one thing that was definitely agreed upon was that Emma is a must see film and the ultimate "chick flick". So grab your friends, women, and make a night out of Emma.