A Parent’s Guide to Emma (1996) (Movie)

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Emma (1996) by Douglas McGrath (Director)

Type: Classic, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Emma Woodhouse is a cheerful young woman that has the bad habit of meddling. By determining to match off her friends, all she does is cause complications, anger, and sorrow, not noticing her own romantic chance until it may be too late.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: For a movie, this Jane Austen story was pretty well done. It was a story that a person could relate to emotionally and socially, and scattered with wit and sarcasm in the dialogue and events. The exact dialogue was not written, though occasionally accurate, but the characters natures were definitely caught.

Acting: 4½/5 Amazing: Gestures, tones, and facial expressions were all well done. There were no hints of “actor’s voice,” except maybe a little bit in Emma’s father, but a majority of the time it was purely as natural as real life. The characters were beautifully portrayed. Emma was cheerful and a bit spoiled. Harriet was sweet and meek. Mr. Knightly was mature without being old. Several other characters followed this line.

Costumes and Scenery: 3½/5 Above Average: Costumes were period appropriate, realistic, and beautiful. The temperance of looking rich and beautiful while not looking silly and elaborate was made. Costumes were often plain, but they were not plain to the point of being an eyesore or unpleasant.

The scenery was befitting a rich man’s home and lands. In a similar nature to the costumes, it was period appropriate, realistic, and not too elaborate. The lifestyle of the characters was of one that could be expected by a viewer, beautiful but not fantasy-like.

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The main moral that can be seen in the story of Emma is to not meddle. Emma believes that she knows best concerning who should marry whom. Her matches result in sorrow and anger, and it is eventually revealed that even her inward speculations about who loved whom were completely wrong. God says in 1 Peter 4:15 “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” We are not to be gossips or snoops, as it causes divisions and stress.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: For the time the movie was made, I would say it was done pretty well. It was not too plain, even though it was not extravagant. Though every detail was not exactly like the books, the spirit was caught and maintained, making it an enjoyable movie. Girls and women twelve to thirteen and older would probably like it best.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Some Suggestive Content: Most dresses in the series are low, and once a lady bends over at least twice briefly, revealing much, though not all, cleavage. One dress is raised slightly and light in color, making the shadow of the women’s body briefly seeable during a certain event. Men kiss or lean in to ladies hands. A man and woman kiss a few times on the lips. Friends air kiss a few times. A man and woman hold hands. A man tells a girl that he believes their acquaintance is being pursued by a married man. She is not.

Violence: 1/5 Some Light Violence: Some people shove a lady onto the ground and grab at her in an attempt to steal her purse. They fail. It is mentioned in conversation that a man has cut his finger. A woman scares some dogs when she shoots an arrow near them, and her friend makes a joke about it.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Some Swearing: God’s name is taken in vain twice. “Damn” is misused twice.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: ½/5 Light Emotional Content: Women cry a few times over relationship complications, though not intensely. A man is obsessed with people getting sick or carrying illnesses and talks about his worries almost every time he speaks. A woman that is appears in the movie gets sick and dies. Some girls visit and tend to a woman that appears sick. There is brief talk of sick people. Death is mentioned in a song. “Death” is used for descriptive purposes,

Religious Issues: ½/5 A man is a vicar.

Magic: ½/5 “Fairyland” is used for descriptive purposes. No magic is done in the movie.

Others: Characters dance and talk of dancing. A woman accuses a man of mistaking her for another lady and that he is under the influence of wine, though he is probably not drunk and the word “drunk” is never used. A woman asks a man if he wants some whisky, which he refuses.

Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: I recommend the movie for children at least twelve or thirteen and older, mainly because of the swearing and suggestive content.

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