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Playing Cupid: An Advance Review of "Emma" on PBS' "Masterpiece Classic"

"Better to be without sense than misapply it as you do." - Mr. Knightley Jane Austen's novel "Emma" remains an enduring masterpiece of biting wit, scathing satire, and Regency society-trapped-in-amber since its publication in 1815. Even nearly 200 years later, there's still quite a bit of relevance and humor to be found in its pages and the novel's matchmaking heroine Emma Woodhouse--young, spoiled, and naive--remains a favorite for readers of all ages. Douglas McGrath's 1996 Emma , which starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Toni Collette, Alan Cumming, and Ewan McGregor, remains a favorite of mine when thinking of Austen adaptations. Daringly breaking away from the stylistic constraints of 19th century English novels, McGrath infused this story with modern flourishes, creating something timeless in and of itself. Likewise, the 1995 feature film Clueless transplanted Emma Woodhouse to mid-90s Beverly Hills, transforming the Austen heroine into the vapid Cher