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Emile (2003)

tomatometer

25

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 6

No consensus yet.

audience

64

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,199

My Rating

Movie Info

Independent Canadian filmmaker Carl Bessai directs Emile, the final entry in his identity trilogy that started with Johnny and Lola. Ian McKellen plays Emile, a retired university professor who travels from England to his hometown in Canada in order to accept an educational honor. Visiting the family farm in Saskatchewan, he recalls his childhood relationships with brothers Freddy (Tygh Runyan) and Carl (Chris William Martin). He stays with his grown-up niece, Nadia (Deborah Kara Unger), who

R,

Drama

Apr 26, 2005

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (10) | DVD (1)

A routine memory piece about long-buried family secrets that bubble back to the surface to wreak havoc.

March 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 4, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tenderly touches our emotions.

March 4, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 3, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

February 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sensitively played but ultimately undone by its unconventional approach.

March 4, 2005 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Poignant and well acted, though not very memorable.

February 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

It's ultimately more simplistic and contrived than provocative.

February 4, 2005
Reel.com

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.

February 4, 2005 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

McKellen and Unger do a wonderful trudging through the dirt (and, finally, cheese), Emile never quite gets off the ground.

December 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

An honest and intelligent look into real relationships, impressively original in its execution and breathtakingly remarkable in its delivery.

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

a film of tender hues, quiet intensity and elegiac melancholy that you may well find lingering in your own memory.

May 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Gazette

Technical shortcomings aside this is a good story well told, elevated by McKellen on top form.

May 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Reminds us that Sir Ian McKellen is used to playing more complex characters than Gandalf or Magneto.

May 11, 2004 Full Review Source: BBC

A small but excellent cast supports McKellen in what is a beautiful and intelligent film.

March 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Beautifully filmed and edited by Bessai to take us into the mind of a man who has made too many life-changing decisions.

March 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

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.

February 11, 2004 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY
eye WEEKLY

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.
October 11, 2007
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