EMILY imagines Emily Brontë’s own Gothic story that inspired her seminal novel, “Wuthering Heights.” Haunted by the death of her mother, Emily struggles within the confines of her family life and yearns for artistic and personal freedom, and so begins a journey to channel her creative potential into one of the greatest novels of all time.
EMILY shares the part-fictional story of a brilliant writer whose life and loss of love inspired one of the greatest novels of all time.
Wuthering Heights fans will recognize the inspiration in Frances O’Connor‘s screenplay. Sibling and familial dynamics loom large, as does jealousy. A myriad of topics appears in the script; grief, individualism, and life in the arts. Emily shirks gender norms and yet yearns for the approval of her Father. Betrayal, morality, lust, defiance, sibling rivalry, adoration, and spite play keen roles in EMILY. A particularly sharp monologue serves as a Freudian confessional. It is brilliant and heartbreaking.
Nanu Segal’s cinematography is both visually striking and emotionally impactful. The score is chill-inducing, ethereal, and classic all at once. Emily contains one of the most gloriously choreographed love scenes. Two particular moments in Sam Sneade‘s editing were particularly effective. First, when Weightman and Emily discuss their inspiration in writing, and second when William first reads Emily’s poem. These subtle choices are massive emotional shifts in the narrative. Bravo.
Fionn Whitehead plays Branwell Brontë with the vibrancy of a firecracker. He is a delightful foil for Mackey. Their connection is undeniable. Oliver Jackson-Cohen is Mr. Weightman. Battling societal morality and love, Jackson-Cohen gives a stunning performance. His intuition and chemistry with Mackey are explosive.
Emma Mackey is perfection. The script allows her to play the full spectrum of human emotion. She is vulnerable, anxious, fearless, defiant, and endlessly passionate. Emily’s curiosity for life and experience gives Mackey the freedom to immerse herself in the role. She nails it.
EMILY is every English Lit major’s fantasy. Emily is an iconic feminist role model, walking the thin line between relatable and remarkable. Frances O’Connor gives audiences a heroine to admire and aspire to be.
Bleecker Street will release EMILY
in select theatres February 17, 2023
Directed by: Frances O’Connor
Written by: Frances O’Connor
Produced by: Piers Tempest, Robert Connolly, David Barron
Cast: Emma Mackey, Fionn Whitehead, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Alexandra Dowling,
Adrian Dunbar, Amelia Gething, and Gemma Jones
Rated R | 130 minutes