There's a poetry to My Name is Emily. Not just in the words - it permeates the imagery and music as well. That should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Simon Fitzmaurice's work - his short films won all around them, lauded as lyrical and beautiful. His stream-of-consciousness film-making evokes a response on myriad levels - visually, musically, emotionally - and My Name is Emily succeeds on all fronts. Emily, played beautifully by Evanna Lynch, is a troubled soul - deep and considered and stubbornly beyond conformity. She is wounded, armored and iron-strong. Arden, played with great charm by newcomer George Webster, is similarly bruised, but meets his own challenges with an infectious wit and enthusiasm. He hides his own pain under bravado, to a degree, and his inherent optimism and seize-the-day attitude are a perfect counterpoint to Emily's initial introspection. Their growth as characters as they journey across Ireland builds in an organic and believable way, gradually revealing themselves to each other, and in turn, the audience. To call this movie a road trip is a little reductive - it is, for all intents and purposes, but the journey Simon so wonderfully evokes is through an emotional landscape as well as a physical one. Parents loom large for both these characters, in different ways. Emily's father Robert is written across every aspect of her life. Their history together has forged her, left her vulnerable, searching for answers. Michael Smiley delivers a nuanced and powerful performance as Robert - a broken man, gradually remade through love and forgiveness. Simon finds humor and pathos throughout, delicately balanced against themes of loss and redemption. He adds richness and texture in deft strokes, letting peripheral characters shine in fleeting moments - Arden's Granny, full of wit and wisdom, Emily's foster parents, crippled by their earnest middle-class nicety. Emily's pain and loss simmer, fathoms deep, etched across every subtle expression. Lynch plays it flat at first, closed and impenetrable, but gradually opens up as the movie progresses. It's wonderful to see Emily start to smile and laugh, to watch her being freed as Arden helps her come out of herself, out of her pain. My Name is Emily is a poem about love and loss, darkness and light and everything in between.
My Name Is Emily
My Name Is Emily
On her 16th birthday, Emily runs away from her foster home and, with the help of her new friend Arden, sets out on a road trip to break her father out of a psychiatric institution.
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June 8, 2019