Roze-Rating: 4 / 5
Moving in across the street is single mother Linda (Jessica Biel) possessing a striking resemblance to Emanuel’s (Kaya Scodelario) dead mother. Emanuel blames herself for her mothers death at childbirth, she feels she has nothing to offer in this world. Uncharacteristically offering to babysit for her new neighbor opens up a relationship she has longed for ever since she was born. An obsession evolves as she can relate to her neighbors pain even if she lives a lie.
The Truth About Emanuel is a beautifully constructed film exploring human relationships in such a down to earth way. We are introduced to a 17 year old girl, Emanuel, claiming to have murdered her mother. She mentions this during an opening monologue where she later explains is from childbirth. She is guilt-ridden, convinced that she was never meant to belong in this world. Her obscured views on life and reality makes her cynical about her future and to an extent people. An important quote from Emanuel is when she claims “reality is overrated”, her feelings concerning her place in the world makes her absent of ambition, she lives in her own distorted reality. I find her character extremely real as teenagers at some point will feel lost, unsure of what lies ahead and where their choices will take them. Emanuel may be damaged but she has the personality of the average teen. She’s intelligent and extremely witty as we see her countlessly crack smart ass responses to people, she has an identity but no coherent outlet to express herself with.
Ultimately for a good thirty minutes of the film we are exposed to an Emanuel that is on the edge, she feels no one understands her and no one will. I like how the film progresses through her daily routine a number of times, driving home how little she allows herself to live at her age. The film really starts going when Linda moves in with her baby daughter across the street, Emanuel instantly feels a connection with her as we later realize she looks very similar to her mother. A relationship soon develops and we come to learn that there is more to that connection than we thought, it’s chilling but Emanuel’s understanding of Linda’s pain is compelling.
Performances from Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel were pretty solid. I felt Kaya Scodelario was perfect for this role, her face is so gentle and has this believable innocence that you rarely find. I knew she had something special when I first saw her on Skins and not because she was hawt (She’s older than me so not creepy). After seeing her in this I now have to see what she has to offer in her future films because this performance was perfect and surprisingly her accent to. Biel was business as usual, solid playing her role to an eerie believability,
Some parts of the film were shot beautifully typically involving montages and water. We see moments where water floods Emanuel’s surroundings to symbolize what I think is her rebirth, inner purity and subconscious as she develops a mother-daughter relationship with Linda which she has longed for since birth, it later illustrates a much self fulfilled meaning. Another great addition to the film is the soundtrack, it fits perfectly aiding the tone of the story.
It may be a film that proves to be unpopular as it lacks melodramatic moments and a generic tone but it just wouldn’t have been real if it went out to be these things. It’s a story about how human connection and relationships can help you as there are always people out that can relate to your problems and the only way to help oneself is to accept reality and make your own destiny. That was my take on it anyways.