Tracker Pixel for Entry

Autumn de Wilde Makes Feature Debut with “Emma.”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | March 11th, 2020

Photographer and music video veteran Autumn de Wilde makes a bold statement with her feature directorial debut, punctuating the title of the oft-adapted Jane Austen favorite with an emphatic period as if to suggest she gets the last word with this particular edition of “Emma.” Sumptuously designed, elegantly appointed, and spectacularly costumed and coiffed, de Wilde’s fresh rendition has a piquant flavor complemented as much by self-aware sexiness as the abundant pastel hues on display. Anya Taylor-Joy joins the ranks of confident Emma interpreters, handily managing and navigating the character’s meddlesome insensitivity along with her expressive capacity to learn from ugly mistakes.

De Wilde’s tone might not please every Austen purist, as the filmmaker opts more often than not for a kind of comedically arch and ironic detachment from what some critics have identified as Austen’s serious subtext: the high stakes of negotiating the most advantageous marital match in a sphere both limited and limiting for young women disadvantaged by patriarchal norms. The economic prospects of key female characters are most certainly not ignored by the director, however, who deploys Harriet Smith (Mia Goth, doing her best work to date) and Miss Bates (Miranda Hart, stealing every scene in which she appears) as important reminders of and contrasts to Emma’s own privilege.

As Emma’s longtime friend and eventual husband, Johnny Flynn makes a charming George Knightley. The novel’s sixteen-plus year gap between the pair isn’t too far off from the thirteen-year difference between Taylor-Joy and Flynn’s birthdays, but the common May-December convention and its typical Hollywood disparity isn’t too terribly obvious onscreen. De Wilde also capitalizes on Flynn’s physical beauty, working in a backside nude scene that would most certainly have scandalized Austen and her original readership. “Emma” is a movie of lusty gazes aimed in all directions, and de Wilde incorporates several scenes in which characters are elaborately dressed and undressed.

Emma and George remain fully clothed for the movie’s hottest interaction: a formal dance in which the opportunity to look and touch is briefly sanctioned. The scene is expertly handled by de Wilde. She manages to communicate the lightning-quick moment of discovery and surprise shared simultaneously by George and Emma as they realize they are into each other. The audience is equally caught up in the confusion and excitement, made all the more delightful by Knightley’s kindness and decency toward a harried Harriet. That gentlemanly behavior will come back to (briefly) bite Emma for her shabby and misguided treatment of her best girlfriend, but de Wilde, working from a script by novelist Eleanor Catton, smartly endeavors to update and excise Mr. Knightley’s tendencies to mansplain.

De Wilde’s penchant for Easter-egg color combinations calls to mind some of the opulence on display in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” but “Emma” holds in check the boldest acts of blissful anachronism flaunted by Coppola. Both movies, at heart, are unafraid to embrace a rock and roll sensibility that acknowledges and powers a distinctly female point of view. Austen’s heroine, who arrived in December of 1815, was as flawed and complex then as she would continue to be interpreted across the centuries. Her fallibility, narrowness, and humanness coexist in equal measure with our fantasies of “handsome, clever, and rich” to make Emma so timelessly compelling.

Recently in:

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, has started to make its rounds in the United States. As of Tuesday, Mar. 17, three residents in North Dakota, 11 in South Dakota, and over 60 in Minnesota have been confirmed to have the disease. The…

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

Not long ago, we did not have Coronavirus or Covid-19 in our vocabulary. Now our worlds have been changed. And that change is not stopping anytime soon, it would appear.Most of us are in the same boat. Our businesses are in…

Fact: In 1979 We Had 19.5 Million Manufacturing Jobs; Today, 12 MillionThat’s just one of the startling statistics revealed in two books reviewed by Helen Epstein in the New York Review of Books. The titles indicate the subject:…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Veteran sound editor and USC professor Midge Costin educates and entertains as the director of “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound.” An engaging, entry-level crash course on the role of audio in motion picture…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

by Martin C. Fredricks IVmcfrediv@gmail.comCould this be the week supporters of President Donald J. Trump finally wake up and see his true colors?As late as Monday, March 9, Trump was trying to push off the threat of coronavirus,…