A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A willingness to learn. Finding confidence within yourself. The joys, but also heartbreak of love.
Positive Role Models
Emily was born into a world that favored her male counterparts. But through her own brilliance, she succeeded. She is flawed, however, and is guilty of spying on people alongside her brother. Initially introverted, she grows in confidence when she finds love.
There is a lack of diversity as the film features White characters, pretty much across the board. But the film does center on a very complex female character.
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Violence & Scariness
Death is a prevalent theme. A parent is seen hitting their child when telling them off. Characters are chased by dogs in another scene. Reference to a dead parent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex scene in a barn -- no nudity, but there is thrusting. Suggestion that a character performs oral sex on another. Character's nipple seen in one scene. A character has their neck kissed by someone other than their spouse.
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One use of the word "gypsy."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters take opium on occasion. There is one character who is living with alcohol addiction, which leads to a slow demise. Other characters drink alcohol throughout and a character is seen smoking too.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Emily is a biopic of the 19th-century English novelist Emily Bronte -- author of literary classic Wuthering Heights -- and features drugs, addiction, and sex. Bronte (Emma Mackey) is a strong female lead, but also complex and flawed. She's intelligent, both academically and emotionally, and succeeds in a world that favored the progress of men over women. Love is explored in all its facets; the joys of falling in love, and the sheer misery of heartbreak. The film features a few sex scenes that while featuring little to no nudity, are quite graphic. Drugs are also a prominent theme. Characters try opium and initially they are shown enjoying the effects. But soon Emily's brother, Branwell (Fionn Whitehead), falls deep into addiction with drugs and alcohol. There is also some smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This biopic about one of Britain's most celebrated authors is an encouraging directorial debut feature from Frances O'Connor, who brings her screenplay to life in a unique, but also familiar way. Emily does feel like a classic period drama at times. But likewise it's got a naturalistic feel to it. Its handheld shaky camera and close-ups truly put you into the same room as the characters, rather than have you feel like you're merely observing from behind a pane of glass, as though at a museum -- which can often happen with this genre.
What transpires is an intimate character study. But for that to work, a strong central performance is required. Thankfully Mackey more than delivers. She brings vulnerability as well as a mischief to the role. We get a sense for the writer's fallibility, but also the sharp and witty mind that lives within. The film could have perhaps had a more deft editing job, with the middle act waining somewhat. But the strength of the performances keep the audience engaged.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.