Magazine April 20, 2020, Issue

The Pleasures of Autumn de Wilde’s Emma.

Mia Goth and Anya Taylor-Joy in Emma (Focus Features)

Like American geopolitical power and sitcoms set in New York City, the Jane Austen adaptation peaked in the 1990s, when one dizzy two-year period gave us the iconic Colin Firth mini-series version of Pride and Prejudice, the near-perfect Ang Lee adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, Amy Heckerling’s brilliant Beverly Hills reimagining of Emma Woodhouse in Clueless, a lovely Gwyneth Paltrow turn as the original Miss Woodhouse in a handsome Emma, and a raw and effective Persuasion with a young Ciaran Hinds.

Every Austen adaptation since has been overshadowed by that remarkable run, with filmmakers mostly opting to work with minor novels

This article appears as “Emma with an Edge” in the April 20, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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