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April 16, 2014

Movie Review: The Truth About Emanuel (2013, Blu-ray)

“You can’t handle the truth!” And if by truth you mean that the title character in this movie is not the whiny little bitch you think but actually a deeply caring and vulnerable young girl then yeah, I can’t handle it. Mostly because I don’t buy it.

The Truth About Emanuel stars Kaya Scodelario as Emanuel, a brooding 17-year old girl who considers herself a murderer because her mother died while giving birth. She spends her days being all intense and dark. And each year, as her birthday approaches, she turns the annoying brat-o-meter up to 11 by making her father retell the story of her mother’s death. Minute by agonizing minute.

What an asshole.

But this year is a bit different. A mysterious woman, Linda, moves in next door and she just happens to look a lot like Emanuel’s dead mom. Naturally Emanuel is drawn to her and becomes her friend, basically replacing something she’s never had with a doppelganger. A demented doppelganger but I move too soon.

Because of this blossoming relationship, Emanuel seems to come out of her shell a bit. She’s nicer to her coworkers, reaches out to a cute boy on the commuter train and starts dating him but don’t worry. She still manages to maintain her spiteful angry attitude toward her step-mom. Because remember, she’s all dark and avant-garde and unique.

What. An. Asshole.

There’s only one problem with her new gal pal mom-substitute. She’s a loony. Unfortunately she’s not the interesting blood-of-my-enemies-used-for-painting-my-masterpieces crazy. More like the boring twenty-five-cat-hoarder kind of crazy. Emanuel wants to protect Linda from anyone finding out the truth but as is always the case, secrets never stay hidden forever. And what will that truth do to those around her?

Pity Party, table for one.

Who fucking cares. Was this movie supposed to be some kind of thriller? Or just a human drama? Either way it was boring as hell.

I’m sure the writers thought they were being hip and edgy with the theme, characters, the metaphors, and everything else but really. Linda’s big secret? I figured that shit out 10 minutes in. Even after learning the truth I didn’t give a damn about Linda and her issues.

Emanuel is not likable at all. She’s one of those ‘everything about my life sucks’ hipster douche bags who listens to French music, studies French in her spare time, and snacks on wine, cheese, and fruit. *eye roll* She’s a self centered little asshole. You know, a typical teenager. Maybe she was written with the capabilities to grow and open up through the movie, showing us that she does care and is quite fragile and broken.  I didn’t buy into that. All I wanted to do was slap the shit out of her.

'Cause that's what the program is all about. Shock. Yeah. Right. Okay.

The dialogue is a bit ridiculous. Again, trying to make Emanuel all aloof and ‘too cool for school’ she deadpans the voice over at the beginning, telling us she’s a murderer and the doc that revived her (yeah, she was dead at birth, too - yet another reason to be an outcast) used the same hands to jerk himself off right before that. “He came and I came.” Is that supposed to be shocking?

Aside from a few beautiful artistic shots, the likable natures of Claude (the boyfriend) and Arthur (the coworker), and good acting from Jessica Biel and Frances O’Connor, the movie felt tired and overdone. I admit that I cried like a baby at the end but that was me projecting my own baggage onto the scene as opposed to feeling any kind of sympathy for the main characters.

1.5 hatchets (out of 5)

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