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Emma

The combination of cinematography and a hilariously expressive cast turns the whole silly drama into something altogether musical.

Emma autumn de wilde adapation screengrab

Who knew the last Jane Austen novel released just before her death would be treated to one of her liveliest adaptations ever?

I had to look up the director after watching this. The blocking and spatial awareness is so busy and kinetic that it was no surprise when I learnt that Autumn de Wilde started in rock photography. She uses her set - Emma's regal manor - as a dollhouse, playing with the toys with the excitement and imagination of concert, light displays and quotable hooks illuminating a full sensory experience.

It's the combination of cinematography and a hilariously expressive cast that turns the whole silly drama into something altogether musical: of icy glares and fluttering fans, and rich ladies spinning their heels in indignation, stomping away in a flurry of skirts. De Wilde's obvious enjoyment of this sandbox is infectious and the facial reactions she relishes in aren't superficial to the point of gif-worthy pandering.

Period dramas offer ample opportunity for exaggeration. Part of their novelty is the 'Did we really used to do that?' factor. Few modern directors have the skill or the courage to hyperbolise the past, ever since masters like Alfred Hitchcock and Akira Kurosawa and many more passed away.

I'm excited to see what de Wilde cooks up next. Also, Mia Goth.

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