Review: The Truth about Emanuel

Jessica Biel and Kaya Scodelario in The Truth About Emanuel

The Truth about Emanuel is a surreal film, written and directed by Francesca Gregorini. I watched it all with interest, so I obviously found it worth watching. It isn’t a great film, but it drags you into its unhinged world. It’s about madness and grief, wounded healers and magic.

Kaya Scodelario plays Emanuel. Jessica Biel is a new neighbor that Emanuel becomes fascinated with. Alfred Molina plays Emanuel’s father and Frances O’Connor is her stepmother.

The two principle characters – Emanuel and the neighbor Linda – both struggle to cope with grief. Emanuel tells us in a voice over at the beginning that she killed her mother by being born. Even as her 18th birthday approaches, Emanuel still can’t deal with her motherless life.

Linda moves in next door. She has mental health issues of her own around grief and motherhood. Emanuel understands Linda, wants to both protect her and be mothered by her. Both Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel gave nuanced performances.

Some of the visuals in the film were stunning, hypnotic hallucinations.

The film deals with very female themes: losing a mother, losing a child, wanting a child but not having one, wanting a mother, wanting to mother.

The film is also called The Truth about Emanuel and the Fishes. It was released in 2013 and is currently available on Amazon Prime and several other places.

If you watch The Truth about Emanuel, please share your opinions about the film.

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