Down 1,046 this week

Emile (2003)

 -  Drama  -  9 January 2004 (Canada)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 613 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 14 user | 22 critic | 10 from

In a story weaving the past and present together, Emile seeks redemption from the family he abandoned.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

Related News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 41 titles
created 07 May 2011
a list of 10000 titles
created 26 Jun 2012
a list of 868 titles
created 15 Jan 2013
a list of 118 titles
created 14 Jun 2013
a list of 10000 titles
created 3 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Emile" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Emile (2003)

Emile (2003) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Emile.
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Neverwas (2005)
Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A well-educated psychiatrist leaves an academic career to work at an institution where his father, a novelist, lived before writing a renowned children's book. Acclimating to his position, ... See full summary »

Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Ian McKellen, Brittany Murphy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Sir Simon Loveit, a widower, wishes to marry Miss Biddy. His son, Captain Bob, however has already won her heart under the alias of Rhodophil, before he went to war in Flanders. On his ... See full summary »

Director: Matthew Butler
Stars: Ian McKellen, Simon Callow, Carol Royle
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Following the banning and burning of his novel, "The Rainbow," D.H. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, move to the United States, and then to Mexico. When Lawrence contracts tuberculosis, they ... See full summary »

Director: Christopher Miles
Stars: Ian McKellen, Janet Suzman, Ava Gardner
Amy Foster (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The film tells the story of Russian emigree and the only survivor from ship crash Yanko Goorall and servant Amy Foster in the end of 19th century. When Yanko enters a farm sick and hungry ... See full summary »

Director: Beeban Kidron
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Vincent Perez, Ian McKellen
Asylum (2005)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A woman becomes very curious about one of her psychiatrist husband's inmates, a man who was found guilty in the murder and disfigurement of his former wife.

Director: David Mackenzie
Stars: Natasha Richardson, Sean Harris, Marton Csokas
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A twenty-something drag queen dies of AIDS, but when his adoring ghost returns to the side of his surviving lover, he finds his lover doesn't exactly miss him.

Director: Peter Mackenzie Litten
Stars: Ian Williams, Thomas Arklie, Gordon Alexander
Animation | Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When his father dies unexpectedly, a young man seeking to cope with his grief goes on a powerful emotional journey through time and space.

Directors: Stefan Leuchtenberg, Martin Wallner
Stars: Joseph Fiennes, Ian McKellen
King Lear (TV Movie 2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Ian McKellen gives a tour-de-force performance as Shakespeare's tragic titular monarch in this special television adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company production of one the playwright's most enduring and haunting works.

Director: Trevor Nunn
Stars: Ian McKellen, Ben Addis, Frances Barber
Richard III (1995)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king staged in an alternative fascist England setting.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Based on a true story, this is the tale of Josephine Monaghan, a young woman of the mid-19th century who is thrown out of her parents' home after being seduced by the family's portrait ... See full summary »

Director: Maggie Greenwald
Stars: Suzy Amis, Bo Hopkins, Ian McKellen
Zina (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Zina, the daughter of Leon Trotsky by his first wife, is undergoing freudian analysis in Berlin in the 'thirties. Meanwhile Trotsky is in exile in Prinkipo having been driven from power by ... See full summary »

Director: Ken McMullen
Stars: Ron Anderson, George Antoni, Micha Bergese
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Graham lives with his tyrannical Mother and their pet Jackdaw in a Christian bookshop, trapped in the seedy outskirts of a decaying nowhere town. He and his Mother both love God, but in ... See full summary »

Director: Joe Tucker
Stars: Steve Coogan, Julia Davis, Ian McKellen


Complete credited cast:
Nadia / Nadia's Mother
Theo Crane ...
Maria / Nadia (age 10)
Janet Wright ...
Nancy Sivak ...
Frank Borg ...
Taxi Driver


As a young man, Emile left his Saskatchewan farm life behind to head to university in Britain, with his brothers, the older brusque and controlling Carl and the younger sensitive Freddy, left to run the family farm. This move was despite Freddy showing greater potential and thus probably benefiting more from academic life. However, Carl wouldn't allow Freddy to leave because of his mechanical expertise which was required to tend to the farm equipment. Emile vowed to return, but never did, which affected Freddy the most. Now in early retirement, Emile, still living in Britain, travels to Victoria, Canada to accept an honorary degree from the university there. In Victoria, he decides to stay with now deceased Carl's grown daughter Nadia, and Nadia's ten year old daughter Maria. Emile had never made any attempt over the years to connect with Nadia or Maria, who only really know him by name. On the surface to Nadia, Emile's visit is purely a need on his part for a free bed while in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 January 2004 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Émile  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CAD 3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When they filmed the part where Emile goes on the train, they didn't block off a section of the platform. As a result, you can actually see someone whip their head around after Ian McKellen passes by them. See more »


The film was shot in British Columbia but some parts of the action are set in Saskatchewan. In one Saskatchewan scene, there are mountains on the horizon. There are no mountains in (or visible from) Saskatchewan. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Appealing and endearing character drama, that is underplayed in comparison for what passes an a contemporary North American indie, but played honestly and fruitfully.
27 June 2011 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

Emile is a Canadian independent film which, unlike some of its more recent American counterparts, isn't afraid of exploring bare-boned, delicate territory without either constructing portraits of its characters as total freaks or necessarily feeling the need to deceptively 'mainstreamise' its overall content with generally offbeat material and off-colour, idiosyncratic dialogues. Sure, they touch on some rather delicate topics, ranging from unanticipated pregnancy to various mental illnesses to those fond of sadomasochism, but rarely do we feel as if the characters in projects such as Juno or Secretary actually exist – they are fanciful excursions into realms populated by those we are wary of rather than sympathetic of, and more often than not carry with them excess levels of vanity. In Carl Bessai's 2004 film Emile, we feel as if we could live down the street from them; his film is one of which explores a man and the results that came about after his decision, during young-adulthood, to put himself before others, regardless of the riches that decision had him end up with, before returning to the locale of his young-adulthood years and piecing together the second generation of his family's situation that has been brought about because of this.

The film covers that of the titular Emile, played extraordinarily by British actor Ian McKellen; a performance full of nuance and delicacy, a performance seemingly lost amidst the bigger budgeted, larger distributed Lord of the Rings and X-Men sequels of the same year in which he additionally starred, but a performance fraught with authenticity and affluence as he comes to integrate with varying supporting acts of differing ages; genders and apparent class backgrounds. Indeed, the film will open on the England based, but Canadian born, author of later on in years Emile; the aftermath of a speech at a large function seeing him very much the centre of attention and seemingly at the peak of his proverbial academia-imbued game. The camera decides to track in on Emile, in a wavy and distorted manner, as if cause for concern was required amidst the rapturous applause and success story that is this man: the film's eventual framework alluded to as here, as the bearing in on the surface qualities of a man and into something more troubled, plays out.

Through one means or another, Emile winds up back in Canada again; the receiving of an honorary degree from an institute in his home province of Saskatchewan the catalyst from the outside forcing him back to his roots, allowing apparent issue and such to be buried. It's here the character of Nadia, Emile's niece, enters proceedings; someone brought to life by that of Canadian actress Deborah Kara Unger, whose general facial expression in whatever film she's in always seems to epitomise that of anguish or one that is wrought with the weight of the world. She has certain things on her shoulders here, the woman clearly outspoken and rather vocal – refusing first impressions on that of anyone; her daughter Maria undergoing, what we presume to be from an early exchange with her mother, a rather strict upbringing as she comes to terms with her own life situation of being forced into moving states to get away from an ex-husband.

It is a situation, the escaping of one's family-imbued problems and leaving on negative terms as trouble brews within a family unit, that echoes that of Emile's; his decision to initially leave Canada being what it is, when the establishment of his back-story to do with his two brothers is what it is. Out of these beginnings, it is made obvious that Emile and Nadia's friendly connection might be read into as being born more out of other items than merely that of quaint family ties. Being relocated in Canada for this brief period allows Emile to hark back to the past; specifically, the ability to look back at his time as a young man with his thoughtful and more humane brother Freddy (Runyan) and his bigger, more primitive sibling Carl (Martin), whose aggression and such on the farm that they're based spawns degrees of conflict. Emile's consequent leaving of this aforementioned unit to study in England, usually the land of academia in these instances, leads him to be the man he is now but seemingly at the cost of a close tie with Freddy, whose own promise leads to its own respective conclusion. Bessai weaves the back-story to that of what happened to Emile in with the present strand wonderfully well; the execution, as specific analeptic manipulations play out furthermore within the flashbacks, are handled with such competence and guile, that it is difficult not to become so involved. Indeed, the results are naturalised; involving, brooding and really rather good.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD Amygoodger
Fate of Emile's two brothers? janeofthewakinguniverse
Discuss Emile (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: