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Monday, March 10, 2014

Movie Review - The Truth About Emanuel

Movie Title
The Truth About Emanuel
Year
2013
Genre
Drama, SuspenseStory
Featured in 2013's Sundance Film Festival, this movie is Francesca Gregorini's 2nd film and was originally called "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes". Of course, if you watch the movie, you'd know that the title is quite misleading as it has nothing to do with fishes at all. It's more about how 2 women deal with their personal losses on their own terms and in their own way. Emanuel (Kaya Scodelario, who I must say is a real beauty. She looks very much like a young version of Madeleine Stowe), an teen-aged girl who is about to turn 18 has to deal with the guilt & loss of her mother at the time of her own birth. Despite having a loving father, Dennis (Alfred Molina - I'll always remember him as Dr Octopus from Spider-Man 2) and stepmother Janice (Frances O’Connor), who really tries to connect with her, but Emanuel shuts them out emotionally.
For the first 30 mins or so, I wasn't sure if I was watching a mystery/drama or a suspense/horror film as the mysterious tone of the movie/story seemed to have me confused. However, despite some degree of predictability, it's still a good enough watch to keep my eyes on the screen.When Linda (Jessica Biel), a single mother, moves in next door with her  baby Chloe. After taking on the role of a baby-sitter, Emanuel quickly bonds with Linda and looks at her as the mother she never had, especially since Linda resembles Emanuel’s late mother. 

We soon discover Chloe is just a really creepy looking doll (Hence my confusion as to whether this was a horror-movie) and that Linda hadn't accepted the fact that her baby had died. Linda's psychosis makes her see Chloe as a normal, healthy infant and treats her as such - ie: Linda breastfeeds, changes her diapers, sings to her, etc. (OK, I can't explain it, I'm just telling you what was in the film...)The 2nd half of the movie deals with how Emanuel tries to keep this secret from being discovered by her parents, boyfriend Claude (Aneurin Barnard who looked familiar because I last saw him in 2013's The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box. It was a dismal watch and I didn't review it in here) and co-worker. More importantly, we see how Emanuel help Linda to finally deal with the bitter truth about Chloe, in in doing so, coming full circle as  both women finally find closure to their own tragic chapters of their lives.Acting
Kaya Scodelario's Emanuel initially comes across as a really curt and rude young lady despite knowing that she had lost her mum and has to deal with her guilt. However, as viewers let themselves immerse in the movie, you'd find yourself sympathizing with her character.

Having said that, the portrayal doesn't really allow us to see Kaya's acting prowess.

Alfred Molina & Frances O’Connor, both are strong performers, were a little under-used here, which is a shame because they might've made the whole film better.

I also can't say much for Jessica Biel as this wasn't a really challenging role.Overall
I liked it, but it's not something that I'd watch again or recommend to everyone because it is not for everyone. There were some parts that I would've fast-forwarded.

Rating: 5.5/10

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