Emily, written and directed by Golden Globe nominated actress Frances O’Connor, is an inventive tale based on the life of Emily Bronte. For a first time directorial debut, Emily is quite stunning despite its Victorian age setting.
Let’s face it, first love stories have been done to death, so for O’Connor to come up with something engaging is quite a trick. Pair this with Nanu Segal’s inspired cinematography who used mostly natural lighting and hand held camera techniques and you have a free spirited and realistic film.
The stars were nominated for a BAFTA Best Ensemble Award and rightly so; Emma Mackey is a younger Margot Robbie who’s lover’s anticipation was palpable, Alexandra Dowling a sister Charlotte played that fine line between jealous and concerned and the two largest male parts-Fionn Whitehead as the ne’er-do-well brother and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as the minister and Emily’s conflicted love interest were all superb.
The lovers first time session is worth the price of admission as is Nanu and Frances’ clever way of showing Emily/Emma’s opiod induced pupil’s dilation and the dizzy aftermath. The score by Abel Korzeniowski adds to to the emotionality of every scene and makes the silence used when Emily learns of tragedy all the more deafening.
My only negative is the cliche deathbed scenes that bookend the film. As an opening scene, it bores rather than entices and in O’Connor’s defense, the very VERY last shot of the film is a better and different finale.