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The Truth About Emanuel (2014)



Average Rating: 3.5/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 11

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 2,200

My Rating

Movie Info

Emanuel (Kaya Scodelario), a troubled girl, becomes preoccupied with her mysterious, new neighbor (Jessica Biel), who bears a striking resemblance to her dead mother. In offering to babysit her newborn, Emanuel unwittingly enters a fragile, fictional world, of which she becomes the gatekeeper. (C) Tribeca

Mar 25, 2014

Tribeca Films. Well Go USA - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (18)

The universal truths Gregorini ostensibly hopes to unearth here actually end up feeling more than a little murky.

January 10, 2014 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tackling the pain of motherhood and guilt of daughterhood, director Francesca Gregorini builds unbearable tension into scenes that otherwise risk tilting toward melodrama.

January 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film so self-serious that it demands to be remade as a Seth MacFarlane farce, "The Truth About Emanuel" mixes the ludicrous and the pretentious in a story about mommy issues gone wild.

January 10, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not so much a thriller as it is a ride on a runaway crazy train.

January 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A tedious wallow in female damage and the indulgence of same ...

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie goes off the deep end early, often and to little effect.

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An odd, sensitive affair, with Skins graduate Scodelario impressive in her American debut.

June 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The truth isn't as satisfying as viewers might hope in this low-budget thriller.

January 31, 2014 Full Review Source:

The Truth About Emanuel is as confusing a film as it is a beautiful one.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

"The Truth About Emanuel" is trying so hard and has elements that are weirdly creepy, yet it still manages to be surprising and achingly sad.

January 10, 2014 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

For those with more interest in the mental decay of trauma and troubling defense mechanisms, Emanuel steps carefully and finds the occasional note of profundity to articulate the awakening taking place.

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source:

It runs out of steam, but the actresses are worth watching.

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

What's missing, in the end, is any provocative or poignant insights into the "truth" about Emanuel; all we get are vague hints.

January 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Clever characters, some witty dialogue and intriguing situations, but a mystery that gives away its mysteries far too easily.

January 7, 2014 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

With a radically different tone and less naturalistic performances, The Truth About Emanuel might conceivably have worked. Gregorini didn't commit to the synthetic; paradoxically, that's what makes the film feel false.

November 25, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Audience Reviews for The Truth About Emanuel

A troubled teenage girl becomes obsessed with the single mom who moves in next door, who has secrets of her own. A bit slow and heavy-handed at times, but generally an effective female-centered psychodrama about maternal love.
January 13, 2014
Greg S

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Reading the bad reviews on RT I wonder why people didn't like drama thriller indie written, directed and produced by Francesca Gregorini. The film stars Jessica Biel, Kaya Scodelario, Alfred Molina, Jimmi Simpson, Aneurin Barnard and Frances O'Connor. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013.

The story of Emanuel (Scodelario), is a story of a troubled girl, who becomes preoccupied with her mysterious, new neighbor (Biel), who bears a striking resemblance to her dead mother. In offering to babysit her newborn, Emanuel unwittingly enters a fragile, fictional world, of which she becomes the doorkeeper. Interesting story about salvation and redemption. This tale unfolds and unravels in secrets, creating blind-spots that will at best keep us from moving forward, at worst derail us completely. I enjoyed it as a choreographed piece between sorrow and fantasy; a haunting dance between its two main characters, Linda and Emanuel.

When we have a director raised in Rome, Los Angeles and the English countryside, there is a feel Francesca Gregorini brings in this movie... a worldly, passionate and unique sensibility. Character driven movie will take you to the end creating mysteries, some of them unnecessary for the plot, but visually stunning!

Watchable movie which will cause some reaction with the viewers on the emotional level! It seems that I liked it more than the others, but there is nothing to be ashamed - I found it well made... just enough well made for the 60%.
April 6, 2014
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

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  • The Truth About Emanuel (UK)
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