Emma (A&E, 1996)

| 8+ 
Cautions: some language, some mild sensuality, mild ethical confusion, and mild peril scenes

Emma is a scheming young woman who wants what’s best for everybody, and thinks she’s the only one who knows what that is. Her meddling and snobbery are dangerously close to ruining everything when she suddenly realizes just how little she understands matters of the heart. The pacing and visual quality leave a bit to be desired, but Emma is an enjoyable take on Jane Austen’s novel, though it emphasizes characters’ faults rather than virtues, making it a little less light, and a little less romantic, than other versions.

1996 | Diarmuid Lawrence | 107 min Watch Trailer

Some Language

Good G-d!
Good G-d!
God knows
the devil

Some Mild Sensuality

Some dresses feature lowish necklines.

A character is said to be illegitimate.

Couples dance.

An engaged couple kisses.

A negatively-portrayed man grabs a woman’s hands and later tries to kiss her in the midst of proposing marriage.

An engaged couple related by marriage is facetiously said to be “not so much brother and sister as to make [dancing together] improper.”

Mild Ethical Confusion

Emma’s speculative gossip about a married man’s alleged romantic attentions to another woman is demonstrated to have been incorrect, but gossip itself is not clearly shown to be wrong.

Emma offends a friend and is portrayed as sorry over it, but does not apologize, and allows multiple people to go on saying that she is “always” good to the friend.

Emma is shown singing in church, but consciously thinking of something else.

Hero Mr. Knightley regularly criticizes absent people. While his conclusions are valid, he is often inappropriately heated and inconsiderate of those around him, and he does not bring his concerns to the people themselves.

Mild Peril Scenes

In a very brief scene, gypsy children attempt to rob two young women, crowding around them and knocking them down.

Chicken thieves are shot at, but not hit.

In a stylized flashback, a woman almost falls out of a boat during a storm.


Emma’s father is portrayed as silly and simple-minded, but all of the characters give him general respect.

A negatively-portrayed character happens to be a clergyman, though his inappropriate behavior is not associated with his vocation.

Characters drink alcohol. The behavior of a negatively-portrayed character is suggested to have been influenced by wine.

Emma says that a strange event “does seem like Providence,” implying that Providence is rare.

A character’s slightly negative response to a naive remark about gypsies is intended morally, not ethnically.

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