Jane Austen's Emma (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Jane Austen's Emma1996

Jane Austen's Emma (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Jane Austen's Emma Photos

Movie Info

In this made-for-TV adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, Emma Woodhouse (Kate Beckinsale) is a clever young woman from a wealthy family who fancies herself a matchmaker and tries to find a husband for her shy friend Harriet (Samantha Morton). However, Emma's skills in bringing romances together are not all she imagines them to be, which causes no small annoyance for Harriet. What's more, Emma's interest in the affairs of others nearly causes her to miss out on the love of her life. This adaptation of Emma was first shown in the U.S. on the A&E cable network; it followed both Douglas McGrath's acclaimed film version starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Amy Heckerling's considerably updated variation on the story, Clueless.

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Kate Beckinsale
as Emma Woodhouse
Mark Strong (II)
as Mr. Knightley
Bernard Hepton
as Mr. Woodhouse
Samantha Morton
as Harriet Smith
Samantha Bond
as Mrs. Weston
James Hazeldine
as Mr. Weston
Dominic Rowan
as Mr. Elton
Prunella Scales
as Miss Bates
Olivia Williams
as Miss Jane Fairfax
Raymond Coulthard
as Frank Churchill
Lucy Robinson
as Mrs. Elton
Sylvia Barter
as Mrs. Bates
Dido Miles
as Isabella Knightly
Alistair Petrie
as Robert Martin
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News & Interviews for Jane Austen's Emma

Critic Reviews for Jane Austen's Emma

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (5)

[Kate] Beckinsale is well supported by the rest of the cast, especially Mark Strong as Knightley and Prunella Scales as the chattering spinster Emma unkindly insults.

November 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Perhaps it is a function of a television budget, but [Andrew] Davies and [Sue] Birtwistle, with director Diarmuid Lawrence, opt not for postcard lavishness but for simple clarity of presentation.

November 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Although [Kate] Beckinsale hasn't much romantic chemistry with [Mark] Strong at a point late in the story when she should have, she is irresistible.

November 19, 2019 | Full Review…

"Emma" is a feast for the eyes and a balm for the heart.

November 18, 2019 | Full Review…

It is understated and sly, loaded with a sense that even a society as well-ordered as Emma's leaves plenty of room for comic misjudgments and happy endings.

November 18, 2019 | Full Review…

If the Paltrow version is a bit too bubbly and modern for your sensibilities, you might find this one a bit more true to Austen's writing.

November 17, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Jane Austen's Emma


A mere patch on the Gwyneth Paltrow version of the story, where that take on the story got everything right this one gets it all pretty much wrong. This Emma is more of a blank slate and churlish, none of the other characters are as vivid either although Mark Strong is an interesting Mr. Knightly but not enough to make up for the other shortcomings. Regrettably flat.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


This one is the Kate Beckinsale version which was released the same year in the one Paltrow starred in. I must say that this is a much better version of the story though clearly with a lower-budget. The other version has a more modern-ish look to it that would've made this one the perfect adaptation of the novel.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

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