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Emma (2009), A Period Movie Review

Updated on December 10, 2014
BBC Emma Movie by Jane Austen
BBC Emma Movie by Jane Austen | Source

The BBC's Emma (2009) Is Quite Possibly The Best Emma Movie

My son and I just finished watching the BBC's television series, Emma (2009). This version of Emma is an extremely funny and beautiful period romance. In fact, it was so good that we actually watched the entire series in one sitting. That is 229 minutes or four episodes of viewing! I have not seen many BBC productions but I have certainly heard of their excellent reputation and, if this is any example, they live up to those expectations of high quality, entertaining movies.

This Masterpiece Theatre version of Emma features Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon (the second Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies) and Tamsin Greig and is a four-part series.

Of the four main movie productions of Emma, which include the 1972 version with Doran Godwin, the 1997 version with Kate Beckinsale, 1999 version with Gwyneth Paltrow, the 2009 version is considered by some to be the BEST Emma movie.

On this page, you will find more information about the BBC's version of Emma including the movie trailer, movie reviews from ordinary movie viewers like you and I and movie reviews by the experts. Make sure to take a moment at the end and let us know what YOU thought about this version of Jane Austen's Emma.

Click here to order your copy of Emma (2009) from Amazon.

"Love knows no boundaries. And neither does she."

Emma (2009) Movie Trailer

Fast Facts About Emma (2009)

  • ACTORS: Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Tamsin Greig, Rupert Evans
  • PRODUCER: Phillippa Giles
  • RATED: NR (Not Rated)
  • STUDIO: BBC Warner
  • ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: October 4 to 25, 2009 (four episodes)
  • DVD RELEASE DATE: February 9, 2010
  • RUN TIME: 229 minutes

Amazon Movie Summary of the BBC's Emma (2009)

"Beautiful, clever, and rich Emma Woodhouse is convinced she is good at matchmaking after her older sister and her governess both marry suitable husbands. No matter that as Mr Knightley drily observes, in reality, she had nothing to do with these relationships. Yet Emma, certain of her talents, plays a dangerous game as she persuades her new friend, the young, pretty and socially inferior Harriet to reject an advantageous marriage proposal to a local farmer in favour of dashing Mr Elton. So begins a story which challenges Emma's naivety, her social preconceptions and her relationship with Knightley. Fresh and funny, this perceptive adaptation, featuring a stellar cast, brings Jane Austen's comic masterpiece to life." ~ Amazon

My Review of Emma in 100 Words or Less

As I said at the beginning of this page, we LOVED this movie. My 16-year old son was initially reluctant until he paused for a minute and heard the tone of the narration, which was somewhat like the narration in Pushing Daisies, at the opening and until he caught the humour.

I do love period movies and this one was no exception. However, I really was not expecting it to be so funny. Now I need to read Jane Austen's book, Emma, now to see if the book was equally humorous.

The cinematography was beautifully done, especially when you consider this was originally a television series, and the casting was well done, too. Romola Garai was perfect as Emma, Johnny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightly and we were thrilled when Dumbledore (or rather Michael Gambon) showed up as Emma's father.

A simple story, Emma wants to make her friends and family happy in love. However, arranging love affairs is not such an easy task, even when you think it will be. The toughest match in this movie was definitely the best one.

Anyone who loves Jane Austen or period romance movies is sure to love this one...and even, as evidenced by my son, those who don't might enjoy this one because of the humour. You'll definitely be rooting for the extremely kind, caring and considerate Mr. Knightly in the end. Emma was so busy arranging the love lives of those around her that she couldn't see the love of her own life when he was standing right there the whole time!

Amazon Customer Reviews of the BBC's Emma

"I've seen the various adaptations of Jane Austen's Emma, but no movie (or actress) really seemed to capture the lighthearted brightness, romance and sweetness of that book. Fortunately, such is not the case with the BBC's latest adaptation -- it's a sunlit, enchanting little story that dances along at a leisurely pace, and has a brilliant cast headed by the astonishingly good Romola Garai." ~ E.A. Solinas

"This is the best version of Jane Austen's Emma that I've ever seen! It's one of my new all-time favorite movies, and I've already watched it about 3 or 4 times. I absolutely love it and highly recommend it to every Jane Austen fan!" ~ AuntieB

This 2009 BBC series was recommended by several friends but I thought, could I really stand yet another version of Jane Austen's Emma? I finally caved and watched it. This movie was highly recommended for a reason - it is the best version!

In other versions of Emma, I thought her quite silly and could never understand her appeal (other then beauty). This movie does a great job of fleshing out each character and the casting is perfect. Kate Beckinsal"s Emma comes in a close second but this movie shines from beginning to end." ~ Margaux Paschke

Order Your Copy of Emma (2009) From amazon


Emma (2009) Movie Soundtrack - Music from the BBC television series.

Written by British composer Samuel Sim, this the score for Emma is considered "elegant, witty, romantic, beautiful and delightfully rich in emotion," which represents this film exactly.

Emma-Music From BBC TV Series
Emma-Music From BBC TV Series

AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW:"A beautiful soundtrack from one of my new favorite movies. This soundtrack has some great upbeat songs as well as beautiful flowing ones. Definitely recommend it!" ~ T. Huggins


© 2010 Treasures By Brenda

Have you seen this 2009 version of Emma? Do you enjoy period movies? The work of Jane Austen?

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    • religions7 profile image


      7 years ago

      I've now seen this Emma and I have to agree that it's probably the funniest Emma movie around, somehow without making the story ridiculous.

    • pheonix76 profile image


      8 years ago from WNY

      I love Emma! The book IS very funny, and with so much detail, you can understand the characters even more. :) That said, the 2009 version of Emma is excellent and after seeing three different adaptations, it's the best IMHO. You have an excellent review lens here, I have added it to my period drama lens roll. :D

    • religions7 profile image


      8 years ago

      I love Emma the book - but then I've reread all of Jane Austen's finished works :) Is it funny? Well, Jane Austen is always funny in my book, but I would not call this her funniest book. Lady Susan is that (hard to find though). It's a refined, subtle humor Jane Austen has - the kind that laughs at people, while being compassionate with them. And intertwined with period social issues - well, you really should find out if you get it :) Sounds like this movie might prepare you FOR the humor though.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      9 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Will have to watch this Emma. I love the one with Gwenyth Paltrow...and Jane Austen in general rocks!


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