The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a movie that's full of good ideas, and very compelling source material to work off of, but just can't capitalize on all of this. Based (loosely) on the story of Anneliese Michel, the movie is essentially two parts: the main half is a courtroom drama, while the latter half actually deals with the titular exorcism. This results in a story that is only sporadically compelling. The courtroom aspect has lots of potential, but falls into the trap of being a little too one-sided. The key to a courtroom drama is making sure that both sides are presented fairly and are valid to the viewer: unfortunately, writers Scott Derrickson (who also directs in his debut feature) and Paul Harris Boardman fail to deliver in that manner. The acting here is good, at least: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, and Campbell Scott all do well, with Scott being the standout as a lawyer rooted in fact over faith. The other half, the exorcism, is much more compelling, but naturally doesn't have enough screentime. The scenes are quite suspenseful and horrifying, largely due to Jennifer Carpenter's performance as Emily Rose. Carpenter's performance is little more than scared hyperventilating, gruesome contorting, and screaming, but she does so in a chillingly realistic way. It's a shame that this one isn't great, because the story of Anneliese Michel (which the film strangely ignores in favor of making Emily's story seem to be the "true story" this is based on) is a haunting tale that poses some very thought-provoking questions about morality that this film lacks.