Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    Emma is the peak of the recent Austen pack and a star-maker, too -- an antidote to a summer in which even good movies have subordinated writing and characters to special effects. [02 Aug 1996, Pg.01.D]
  2. Reviewed by: Alison Macor
    89
    Despite my lack of Austen education, I found the film to be thoroughly engaging and surprisingly touching, so I can only imagine how pleased a true Austen-ite may be with Emma.
  3. 88
    McGrath's script is faithful: fierce when it needs to be and devilishly funny.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    88
    The movie is a genteel, witty soap opera designed to make everyone feel the better for having not only seen it, but having had a bit of fun.
  5. Gwyneth Paltrow makes a resplendent Emma, gliding through the film with an elegance and patrician wit that bring the young Katharine Hepburn to mind.
  6. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    80
    Coming from a novice director, the film is not as impressive as "Sense And Sensibility", but as a light-hearted and energetic comedy of who-loves-who? and small upsets, this works well - and it boasts Paltrow's star-making turn.
  7. 80
    While most literary adaptations look flat and pretty, the fine performances here set Emma apart.
  8. Reviewed by: Ken Eisner
    80
    A fine cast, speedy pacing and playful direction make this a solid contender for the Austen sweepstakes.
  9. 75
    Yet in its high spirits and wicked good humor, Emma is a delightful film--second only to "Persuasion" among the modern Austen movies, and funnier, if not so insightful.
  10. 75
    Emma lacks the depth of passion present in the other Austen films, but, in large part because it's trying for something lighter and breezier, it's still fun.
  11. Gwyneth Paltrow is enchanting as a self-confident young woman who decides to wile away her time by playing matchmaker for a friend whose romantic life would fare much better without interference.
  12. Perhaps the highest praise that can be given Paltrow is that there are no appreciable performance gaps between her green talents and the rest of the truly top-drawer cast.
  13. Apart from its star, though, Emma may be the least convincing Austen adaptation so far.
  14. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    The self-deluded, 21-year-old heroine, can be an awful pain, but her meddling misjudgments are redeemed by her wit, grace and budding moral intelligence, and it's Gwyneth Paltrow's triumph that we always keep sight of that potential as she blithely plucks all the wrong heartstrings in town.
  15. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    70
    It is impressive enough that Paltrow holds your eye as a parade of lovelies and virtuoso actresses (Greta Scacchi, Polly Walker, Juliet Stevenson) march past. But her finest trick is to provide a comic subtext to Emma.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jul 31, 2014
    7
    In Jane Austen’s EMMA, our protagonist Emma (Paltrow) is a 22-year-old keen matchmaker in rural 1800s England, especially when sheIn Jane Austen’s EMMA, our protagonist Emma (Paltrow) is a 22-year-old keen matchmaker in rural 1800s England, especially when she successfully acts as a go-between between her governess Miss Taylor (Scacchi) and the middle-aged widower Mr. Weston (Cosmo), at their wedding, she is determined to find a proper suitor for her kind-hearted but diffident friend Harriet Smith (Collette), this time her aim is Mr. Elton (Cumming) from a rich family.
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  2. BobbieH
    Jun 28, 2009
    10
    A wonderful movie with beautiful scenery and dresses and a beautiful love story. One to watch over and over... My favorite line: "And now, A wonderful movie with beautiful scenery and dresses and a beautiful love story. One to watch over and over... My favorite line: "And now, for the cream." Full Review »
  3. AlexaR.
    Mar 17, 2007
    10
    Vey good, loved the book, loved the movie!