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Short takes

Parental guidance under 10 (mild themes, nudity and possible lack of interest)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Emma
  • a review of Emma completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 February 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Parental guidance recommended due to mild themes and nudity. The film may also lack interest and, due to the dialogue and themes, be difficult for children under 10 to follow.
Children aged 10 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Emma
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and brief nudity.
Length: 125 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When her long-time governess and faithful friend, Miss Taylor (Gemma Whelan), finally marries, Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy) prides herself on her matchmaking abilities while Mr. Weston, (Bill Nighy) her hypochondriac father, bemoans the loss of a member of his household. To fill the void left in her life, Emma forms a friendship with Harriet Smith (Mia Goth), a young lady with a mysterious background whose social standing Emma hopes to elevate. When she learns of Harriet’s affections for a farmer, Emma persuades her to set her hopes higher and contrives a match between Harriet and the local preacher Mr Elton (Josh O’Connor), who unfortunately only has eyes for Emma. When Mr Elton breaks Harriet’s heart and Emma refuses him, he disappears only to return weeks later with a snobby and ostentatious wife (Tanya Reynolds). Meanwhile Mr Weston’s (Rupert Graves) son Frank Churchill (Callum Turner) returns to see his father and meet his new stepmother. While Frank seems to pay special attention to Emma, she thinks Harriet has fallen in love with him and when he turns out to be secretly engaged to another woman Emma is devastated for her friend and then even more so for herself when she learns that Harriet had never thought of Frank but had rather fallen for Mr Knightly (Johnny Flynn), the same man she herself has unexpectedly come to love. Trying to right past wrongs, Emma sets about making amends for the harm she has unintentionally caused and does her best to ensure not only Harriet’s happiness but also her own.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The perils of playing cupid, hypochondria, difficult family relations, gossip, class prejudice and snobbery.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Harriet is ambushed by gypsies on her way home from a dance. It is not shown on screen. She is unharmed but is carried home by Frank Churchill who came to her rescue.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • It is unlikely that anything further in this film would scare or disturb children under the age of five.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • It is unlikely that anything further in this film would scare or disturb children between the ages of five to eight.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Upon his arrival in at his father’s house, Frank Churchill strips off before having a sponge bath. He is seen fully naked from the back and side.
  • Emma lifts up the back of her dress in order to better warm herself by the fire. Her bare thigh and the side of one buttock are shown.
  • Emma wears a sheer nightdress in one scene with nothing underneath.
  • Due to the styles of the time, cleavage is often on display.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There is some social drinking over a festive dinner.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • None noted other than one instance of the word, “stupid.”

In a nutshell

Emma is a period film based on the timeless classic by Jane Austen. It is a warm-hearted story, set against a beautiful backdrop featuring a number of charming performances. However, the highbrow language may be difficult for younger viewers to follow. It will likely be most enjoyed by Jane Austen fans and mature, female, audiences.

The main messages from this movie are that it is far more important to be kind than it is to be right, that love will prevail, and that love is often much closer than we might expect.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Kindness
  • Friendship
  • Generosity
  • Courtesy
  • Respect.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The dangers of idle gossip and the impact this can have on friendships.
  • Attempting to play puppet master in the lives and relationships of others.