Synopsis by Mark Deming
Based on the novel by Jane Austen (who in the '90s seemed to be in the running alongside William Shakespeare and Stephen King for the honors of most adapted author in Hollywood), this period romantic comedy stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma Woodhouse, a young woman who imagines herself an authority on matters of the heart. With the best of intentions, Emma plays matchmaker for her friends, most notably her friend Harriet (Toni Collette), who Emma links up with the Reverend Elton (Alan Cumming), and her governess, (Greta Scacchi), who she introduces to her future husband, Mr. Weston (James Cosmo). However, Emma is not nearly as good at playing Cupid as she likes to imagine, and she spends so much time trying to solve everyone else's romantic problems that it takes her quite some time to realize that she's fallen in love with Mr. Knightly (Jeremy Northam). A television miniseries based on Austen's book appeared a year later, while a year prior to Emma, the story appeared in modernized form in the popular teen comedy Clueless.
love, matchmaker, friendship, marriage, upper-class