• Writing a Film Review
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  • Film Reviews – Emma
  • Lesson 5 – Activity 2 – Emma by Jane Austen

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    Lesson 5 – Activity 2 – Emma by Jane Austen:
    1. Read the guide below on writing a film review, and the film reviews of Emma from a variety of Internet sites.
    2. Using the elements of ‘Writing a Film Review’, compare and contrast how the attached reviews portray one or more major characters.

    • In your opinion, do the reviewers ‘bring the character to life’?

    • Say whether you agree with what the reviewer wrote or not?

    3. Email your answer to the teacher, no later than 24 hours after the end of this lesson.

    Websites: http://www.movie-reviews.colossus.net/master.html

    Reel Views review website


    MovieWeb review website.


    Internet Movie Database review website.

    Writing a Film Review


    Language features


    Eye-catching title

    Name of film

    Name as released in cinemas

    Cinema Name

    Where film released

    Rating in stars

    The more stars, the more positive the review


    Dramatic opening makes reviewer’s opinion of the film clear. Names of Director and major stars can be introduced here.

    Body of Review

    Short paragraphs make it easy to follow the main points.

    Mention plot, setting, film genre (type) early in review.

    Strong adjectives give the review ‘punch’. Addressing the reader in second person, gives the review a more personal feel and helps the reader identify with the reviewer.

    Comment about main actors, their roles and types of performances. Use strong adjectives for lively reading.

    Add more features of the plot.

    Mention the writer of the film by name, the script, style, filmcraft (imagery).

    Mention the cinematographer by name, use adverbs to describe techniques used, method and tone, and how they further the plot. (Consider ‘Narrative Pattern’ film techniques studied in Lesson 4.)

    Mention themes in the film. Don’t be afraid to reuse the title several times, to tie the review together.


    Finish with your final overall impressions of the film, and reiterate briefly how the director, actors, writer and cinematographer used features to tell the story.

    Tie the ending to the introductory paragraph if possible, and advise readers whether or not to see the film.

    Film Reviews – Emma

    1. http://www.movie-reviews.colossus.net/master.html

    Emma – A Film Review by James Berardinelli

    United States, 1996

    U.S. Release Date: 8/9/96 (limited), 8/16/96 (wide)

    Running Length: 2:01

    MPAA Classification: PG (Nothing offensive)

    Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Toni Collette, Jeremy Northam, Alan Cumming, Ewan McGregor, Greta Scacchi, Juliet Stevenson, Polly Walker, Sophie Thompson, Phyllida Law, James Cosmo

    Director: Douglas McGrath

    Producers: Patrick Cassavetti and Steven Haft

    Screenplay: Douglas McGrath based on the novel by Jane Austen

    Cinematography: Ian Wilson

    Music: Rachel Portman

    U.S. Distributor: Miramax Films
    It's the romantic buried inside each of us that responds to movies like Emma. Sure, the film, like the Jane Austen novel upon which it is based, is laced with wit and sophistication. And, although it contains enough social commentary and character development to lift it well above the plane of genre romances, Emma is still primarily about lovers finding each other during a simpler age (Austen published her novels in the early 19th century).
    With Emma, we're certainly not investigating virgin territory. In the wake of Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and A&E's stupendous Pride and Prejudice, there's not a great deal of mystery about the audience to which Emma will appeal. Although the plot differs slightly from the other Austen books-to-movies, many of the themes and riffs are the same. More than one marriage is arranged (five, to be precise), the heroine is a strong-willed woman with a disdain for social conventions, the "principal" couple doesn't find love until the closing moments, and there's at least one scene of ballroom dancing.
    Emma details the matchmaking attempts of twenty-one year old Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow), an incorrigible meddler who believes that "there is nothing more beautiful than a match well made." After successfully marrying her governess (Greta Scacchi) to a widower (James Cosmo), Emma sets her sights on pairing her plain, uncultured friend, Harriet Smith (Toni Collette), with the local vicar, Reverend Elton (Alan Cumming). Elton, however, has other ideas, as does Emma's closest male friend, Knightley (Jeremy Northam), who describes her activities as "vanity working on a weak mind [that] produces every kind of mischief." Emma herself is unattached, but, since this is a Jane Austen story, it's obvious that won't last for long. Indeed, before the two hours are up, the title character has become enmeshed in a number of romantic entanglements, and it doesn't take a genius to uncover the identity of Emma's true soul-mate.
    It's possible that the storyline for Emma may seem curiously familiar to movie-goers, even those who haven't seen the previous Austen adaptations. The reason dates back to last year's Clueless. Alicia Silverstone's star-making vehicle was a modern take on Emma, translating the characters and circumstances from England in the early 1800s to Beverly Hills in the 1990s. This straight adaptation works better, but Clueless is not without its charms.
    Speaking of star-making turns, Emma is likely to open eyes to the talent of its leading lady, Gwyneth Paltrow, who gives face, form, and expression to Emma. Paltrow, who was excellent in 1993's Flesh and Bone (before moving on to films like Seven and The Pallbearer), displays the essential characteristic of an actress wishing to play a Jane Austen heroine -- the ability to shift quickly and effectively from comedy to drama.
    Drama (yun. drama - harakat) - 1) badiiy adabiyotning 3 asosiy turidan biri (epos, lirika bilan bir qatorda). D. teatrga ham taalluqli. Syujetlilik, harakatlarning ziddiyatga asoslanishi va ularning sahna, epizodlarga boʻlinishi, bayonning yoʻqligi, personajlar munosabatlarining oʻzaro soʻzlashuvga asoslanishi D.
    She can cry, look wistful, and deliver a biting line with equal believability.
    Paltrow is supported by a fine cast. Toni Collette (Muriel's Wedding), who also appeared with her in The Pallbearer, makes an effectively frumpy Harriet Smith. Jeremy Northam, who harassed Sandra Bullock in The Net, is an excellent choice for the dashing Knightley. Alan Cumming is suitably smarmy as Reverend Elton. Greta Scacchi and Polly Walker are underused in small roles. Sophie Thompson, in her second Austen film (she also appeared in Persuasion), plays the irritating Miss Bates a little too perfectly. Only Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) appears miscast, although he gives the part of Frank Churchill a game try.
    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. The film runs a little longer than seems necessary, and gets off to a slow, fitful start (Douglas McGrath's screenplay is not the equal of the other Austen adaptations), but Paltrow keeps us interested until the story's inherent romantic magic begins to weave its spell.
    Is the movie-going population (especially those who frequent art houses) growing weary of Jane Austen? It's hard to give a definitive answer at this time, but, judging from the lines at the box office, that seems unlikely. There's something about the writer's view of life that appeals to modern audiences, and, if Emma proves to be a financial success, it's almost a certainty that we'll be seeing a new, feature adaptation of either Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park in the near future.
    © 1996 James Berardinelli

    2. http://www.movieweb.com/movies/film/32/1932/review1613.php
    Emma (1996)

    (2/5 Stars)

    O! The plight of wealthy twentysomethings in England at the beginning of the 19th century.
    Such is the rather large pill you are supposed to swallow if you truly want to enjoy Emma, the latest in the incessant parade of increasingly bad adaptations of so-called "classic" novels.
    Emma is the second time in about a year that Jane Austen's book of the same name has been adapted. The last time was the clueless Clueless, and it'd be hard for me to decide which one is worse. At least Clueless was supposed to be a joke. Emma has all the misplaced seriousness of a documentary on genital warts.
    Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a flighty little matchmaker, never seeking her own marital happiness, but delighting in that of others. The first half hour of Emma shows us her matchmaking attempts with friend Miss Smith (Toni Collette). As no other plot lines are developed in 30 minutes, I thought it safe to assume this was what the movie was going to be about. No such luck, because in the second half hour, a parade of 15 or 20 or 8 billion supporting characters waltzes through the scenes. Each is called Mister or Miss or Mrs. Something, and each of them looks and acts exactly the same (obnoxious). (I defy you to tell the difference at all between Polly Walker's character and Greta Scacchi's.) It's a shame that great acting talents like the above, Ewan McGregor, Alan Cummings, Jeremy Northam, and Juliet Stevenson are all pretty much wasted.
    Anyway, Emma finds herself in quite the predicament when she finds her matchmaking blowing up in her face and realizes she herself is falling for various supporting characters. (Oh, my!) The problem with all of this is that, to a one, all of the characters are loathsome. Combined with the overacting that generally comes along with period flicks like this, you come up with a long-as-sin, pointless film.
    Then again, Emma has a couple of charms, notably some nice scenery, upon which are placed hordes of actresses in those horrid Coke bottle-shaped dresses that made fashion victims out of a generation of Britons. And the credits aren't too bad.

    3. http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0116191/plotsummary
    Plot Summary for Emma (1996)
    Emma Woodhouse is a congenial young lady who delights in meddling in other people's affairs. She is perpetually trying to unite men and women who are utterly wrong for each other. Despite her interest in romance, Emma is clueless about her own feelings, and her relationship with gentle Mr. Knightly.
    Summary written by Philip Brubaker {coda@nando.net}
    Based on the Jane Austen novel, "Emma" tells the story of a young woman in England who plays her town's matchmaker. When attempting to match up her friend with the Reverend Elton, Emma starts to run into complications, which multiply amongst themselves with cases of mistaken intentions of love, a cast of supporting characters who each love someone else, but Emma doesn't know who loves who, and Emma finally realizing the one person she truly loves.
    Summary written by Anonymous
    Reworking of Jane Austen's classic novel, set in nineteenth century England, about the rather unsuccessful attempts at matchmaking carried out by a beautiful young woman (Gwynneth Paltrow) on her unsuspecting friends.
    Summary written by Jonathan Broxton {j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk}
    Emma is a very beautiful young woman who decides to devote her life in finding the right mate for the people around her. But, her cause will come to contestation when she will find love in the face of a much sought after man.
    Summary written by Chris Makrozahopoulos {makzax@hotmail.com}

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    Lesson 5 – Activity 2 – Emma by Jane Austen

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