Emile returns to Canada, the country of his birth, after a lengthy absence. This triggers a remarkable journey into the consciousness of a man in his twilight years, melding past and present and asking the question: can past injustices be remedied? Now retired, Emile travels from England to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Victoria. He takes advantage of the trip to visit his niece, Nadia, who lives there with her young daughter. For Emile, the visit unleashes a torrent of memories of his life in Canada before he moved abroad -- his troubled relationship with his brothers, tragic accidents and unrequited love. Emile's arrival prompts Nadia to revisit unresolved feelings about her past as well. … More
as Maria/Nadia (age 10)
as Taxi Driver
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Critic Reviews for Emile
A routine memory piece about long-buried family secrets that bubble back to the surface to wreak havoc.
Confusing the profound with the pretentious, director Bessai packs the story with elliptical, ominous flashbacks that undercut all the advances he makes with the contemporary tale.
Tenderly touches our emotions.
Sensitively played but ultimately undone by its unconventional approach.
Sir Ian McKellen is at his tweediest and most persnickety as the title character in Emile, the portrait of an eminent scientist who returns from England to his homeland, Canada, to receive an honorary degree from the University of Victoria.
It's appropriate that the director calls this the final chapter in a trilogy about struggling with one's identity -- he shows none of his own while mishandling someone else's.
It's ultimately more simplistic and contrived than provocative.
While this dreamily photographed piece contains fine performances by all, it loses its way as it lingers too long in the past and moves too slowly in the present.
At heart a reverie, a meditation on the past and its treacheries, the ways in which people become flawed, and the eternal though often elusive possibility of forgiveness and redemption.
McKellen and Unger do a wonderful trudging through the dirt (and, finally, cheese), Emile never quite gets off the ground.
An honest and intelligent look into real relationships, impressively original in its execution and breathtakingly remarkable in its delivery.
The films of Carl Bessai are remarkably similar on two fronts: (1) They all have a single name for a title -- first Johnny, then Lola, now Emile; and (2) They just aren't getting much better.
a film of tender hues, quiet intensity and elegiac melancholy that you may well find lingering in your own memory.
Technical shortcomings aside this is a good story well told, elevated by McKellen on top form.
Reminds us that Sir Ian McKellen is used to playing more complex characters than Gandalf or Magneto.
A small but excellent cast supports McKellen in what is a beautiful and intelligent film.
Beautifully filmed and edited by Bessai to take us into the mind of a man who has made too many life-changing decisions.
McKellen is superb as usual, and even if it's all a bit pat, the film quietly generates enough emotional momentum to be genuinely moving.
McKellen, as one might expect, is brilliant in the role of a 60-something man re-inhabiting his earlier life on a farm in Saskatchewan and visiting the imagined life of his brother and his niece during the period when he has been living in England.
Audience Reviews for Emile
This movie has good and bad. First, it drags. Emile, the main character is flashing back throughout the movie - I think sometimes you see him as a young Emile, but sometimes he keeps his current age. It is all confusing. However, if you last beyond the first hour, the story becomes easier to follow and more interesting.More
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