Emma Woodhouse (Kate Beckinsale) is beautiful, rich and clever and rules over her father, Mr Woodhouse (bernard Hepton). She tries to influence the love-lives of their circle of friends in the small village of Highbury, with comic and disastrous results. Emma has no shortage of would-be suitors herself. The amorous vicar, Mr Elton (Dominic Rowan), competes for her love with the dashing Frank Churchill (Raymond Coulthard) and the outspoken and down-to-earth Mr George Knightley (Mark Strong). Emma largely ignores their advances, preferring to concentrate on finding a match for her new friend Harriet Smith (Samantha Morton) than face up to her own desires.