Emma's Wish

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Emma's Wish
Directed by Mike Robe
Written by Paul A. Kaufman
Cynthia Whitcomb
Starring Joanna Kerns, Harley Jane Kozak, William R. Moses
Music by Laura Karpman
Cinematography Edward J. Pei
Edited by Sabrina Plisco
Citadel Entertainment, Kaufman Company
Release date
  • October 18, 1998 (1998-10-18) (CBS)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Emma's Wish is a 1998 TV movie directed by Mike Robe.[1] It first aired on CBS on October 18, 1998 and stars Joanna Kerns as an older woman that finds that her wish to be younger has been granted.[2]


The film begins with a picture-perfect day at the boardwalk for a family of four, mother Emma, father Harry, son Danny and daughter Joy. Young Danny wins a prize at the shooting gallery and selects a 'wish ring' to give to his mother. He says to make a wish since it's her birthday, but she tells him she has everything she wants and will use the wish another day. Fast-forward 35 years later, and Emma is 75 years old and in a nursing home. Her husband is long gone to divorce, her son is dead, and her daughter cannot make it to Emma's birthday party. Joy has a busy life with two young children, a new business, and a husband she is starting to divorce. Emma reluctantly accepts that her family will not be able to join her for her celebration and completes getting dressed up. Being unable to find the necklace she was looking for, she finds the ring her son had given her that long ago day at the carnival. She wears it when she makes a wish and blows out the candles on her cake. In the morning she finds her wish has come true in an unusual way: she had wanted to be able to go to and be with her family to help in their difficult time and she is now 40 years younger, able to go out to them even if they don't come to her. With no time to lose (the wish lasts only for a full month) she buys new clothes and a car, and obtains work at her daughter's house as the new housekeeper/nanny (named Mame). During her time with Joy, Danny and Iris, she learns things about her daughter she didn't know before, makes her peace with her dying ex-husband, and comes to regard her son-in-law Brian as someone who should remain in her daughter and grandchildren's life. She helps more than she thought she could, doesn't accomplish as much as she set out to, and in the end comes to a new understanding with her family that will last to the end of her days.


Joanna Kerns - Emma Bridges/Mame
Della Reese - Mona Washburn, Emma's friend and roommate in the nursing home
Harley Jane Kozak - (adult) Joy Bridges Bookman
Ashley Edner - (young) Joy Bridges
William R. Moses - Brian Bookman
Courtland Mead - Danny Bookman
Jeanne Allen - Iris Bookman
Seymour Cassel - (old) Harry Bridges
Jon Bruno - (young) Harry Bridges
Colton James - Danny Bridges
Stephanie Niznik - Kelly Horner, nursing home director
Dennis Cockrum - Det. William Steele


Variety gave Emma's Wish a mixed review, commenting that "If Hallmark Hall of Fame ever decided it had to do a knockoff of "Mrs. Doubtfire," it would look an awful lot like this heartwarming but cloying fantasy telepic.".[3] The Hollywood Reporter panned the film, commenting that while they enjoyed Kern's acting "the story is so simpleminded that it remains a mere trifle".[4]


  1. ^ Roberts, Jerry (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 482. ISBN 9780810863781. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Bobbin, Jay (Oct 18, 1998). "Joanna Kerns makes 'Emma's Wish' in movie". Boca Raton News. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Richmond, Ray. "Review: Emma's Wish". Variety. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Moss, Marilyn (October 15, 1998). "Emma's Wish (review)". The Hollywood Reporter (subscription required). Retrieved 20 June 2014. 

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