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    SUBJECTS — Literature/England; World/England;
    SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Romantic Relationships;
    MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect; Caring.
    Age: 10+; MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language; Comedy; 1996; 120 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com

    Description:     This movie describes a young woman who meddles in the lives and romances of others. She tries to do good, as she sees it, but often makes a mess of things. The film is based upon Jane Austen's novel of the same name.

    Benefits of the Movie:     The film is an excellent introduction to Jane Austen's novel, Emma. Austen's writings are difficult for most students to read. A college level teacher has reported that her students are more interested in reading another Jane Austen novel, Sense and Sensibility, after they have seen a film version. She also tested students who had been shown the film before they read the book against a control group of students who hadn't seen the film but had only read the novel. She found that students who had viewed the film before reading the book had a better understanding of the characters and the plot. Watching this movie before reading the book Emma should have the same result. (See "Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility as Gateway to Austen's Novel" contained in Jane Austen in Hollywood, Edited by Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield, 1998, University of Kentucky Press, pages 140 - 147.)

    Possible Problems: NONE.


Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities

WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film. Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Movies as Literature Homework Project.

    Parenting Points:     Review Before Seeing the Film in the Learning Guide to "Pride and Prejudice" and communicate as much as possible to your child. You will not be able to cover everything but do the best you can. Immediately after the movie, or at odd times over the next week (for example, at the dinner table or in the car on the way to school), bring up some of the Discussion Questions, starting with the Quick Discussion Question in the sidebar. Don't worry if you can only get through a few questions. Just taking the film seriously and discussing it is the key. Allow your child to watch the movie several times and continue to ask and help him or her answer more discussion questions.

    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:   1997 Academy Awards: Best Music; 1997 Golden Satellite Awards:Best Actress (Paltrow); 1997 Academy Awards Nominations: Best Costumes; 1997 Writers Guild of America: Best Screenplay.

      Featured Actors:   Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette, Alan Cumming.

      Director:  Douglas McGrath.

QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:   Throughout most of this story, Emma believes that she is acting in a caring manner but she is really interfering in the relationships and lives of her friends. How do you distinguish between acting in a caring manner and interfering?

Suggested Response: This is not always easy. You must examine your own motives and what you would gain, as opposed to what the subject of your attentions would gain.
  For English Language Arts classes, distribute TWM's Film Study Worksheet. Teachers can modify the worksheet to fit the needs of each class. Ask students to fill out the worksheet as they watch the film or at the film's end.

Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

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    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:


    1.  How did Emma almost lose Knightley?

    2.  How did Emma's interference in the romantic relationships of others relate to her own fear of a romantic relationship?

    3.  Why did Emma fear entering into a romantic relationship? Why does anyone have that fear?

Reminder to Teachers: Obtain all required permissions from your school administration before showing any film.

Teachers who want parental permission to show this movie can use TWM's Movie Permission Slip.

    Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

    Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.


    (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

    1.  How can you attempt to help someone but at the same time honor the principle of respect for them as an individual?

Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

    Bridges to Reading: For Parents: Encourage your child to read Emma after seeing the film. The book is much more detailed than the film and contains subplots and descriptions not shown in the film. Perhaps the two of you could read it together and discuss your reactions as you go along.

MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: Other excellent film adaptations of Jane Austen novels include: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion.

Give us your feedback! Was the Guide helpful? If so, which sections were most helpful? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Email us!

    Bibliography: In addition to websites which may be linked in the Guide and selected film reviews listed on the Movie Review Query Engine, the following resources were consulted in the preparation of this Learning Guide:

    • Jane Austen in Hollywood, Edited by Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield, 1998, University of Kentucky Press.

    Last updated December 9, 2009.

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