"The most beautiful thing in the world is a match well made." ~ Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Slender and well-assured, the light-eyed, golden-haired queen bee of Hartfield is none other than Emma herself. Well-acquainted with herself and with wit to match that of her playful friend Mr. Knightley, our heroine has the mindset of a matchmaker. Governessed by the well-meaning Miss Taylor until her marriage to Mr. Weston, Emma learned young the talents of idle gossip.
When her governess' marriage leaves time upon her hands, Emma decides to mingle pleasure with duty when she intends to match up the county parson, Mr. Elton, up with her new friend Harriet. Convinced that she is in the right, and direct contrast to the suggestions of Knightley upon the subject of meddling, Emma seems entirely blind to the fact that Mr. Elton has his eye upon someone else in Hartfield.
Urging Harriet to reject a proposal from a young farmer, Robert Martin, Emma's encouragement seems to bring the pair together. Unfortunately, what lies ahead is a shocking revelation built into a fantastic blend of humor and near hits and misses. Will Emma lose a chance for her own happiness while she's caught up in the love lives of her friends? Or does a mysterious dark-haired young man hold her heart in the palm of his hand...?
Emma is one and twenty years of age, and has all the charm and deportment that a woman of her wealthy station desires in life. Idleness fills her hours and often leaves in her slender fingers too much time for meddling. Emma is known as catty, witty, and often she stretches the truth just enough to make a point. Her personality clashes violently with that of the older and wiser Mr. Knightley, who finds her silly.
The Archery Sequence in which Emma announces her intentions to match Harriet up with Mr. Elton. Knightley rebuffs her, and they quarrel violently over the subject before retiring to tea in an angry silence. Another memorable scene comes from her prayers in the chapel.
"Dear Lord, if he cannot share a life with me, is it wrong to ask that he not share it with anyone? That we go on as we are, him stopping by at all hours, always the brightest part of our lives. I would be content if he would just stay single, Lord... that's it! If he could just stay single, it would be enough to make me perfectly satisfied... Almost. Amen."
"It would be a degradation for her to marry a man I could not admit as my own acquaintance!"
"If he comes home sad, I shall know that John has advised him not to marry Harriet! I love John! ... or, it could mean that he fears telling me he will marry my friend! How could John let him do that?! I hate John!"
"There's not much to be said for her. When pressed, I say she is elegant!"