Em (2008) Poster


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Amazing work of art!
williambes55935 December 2008
This film is a true work of art! Predominately told with visuals it is as if you are watching a series of paintings unfold. There is a poetic minimalism to this film which is rarely seen in contemporary American cinema.

"Em" is a subtle, honest and beautiful meditation on what it is like to love someone who is mentally ill. This is not your "look at my Oscar moment" type of mental illness but rather something that is deeply truthful. There is not one manipulative or false moment in this movie which is saying a lot given the subject matter. Everything about this film operates on a visual level and the acting is no exception. The two leads are unbelievable at using subtle facial expressions to convey pivotal character beats. These types of subtle performances can be easily overlooked but this is behavioral acting at its best! Almost immediately you can see the planning and artistry that went into this film. From each shot which is meticulously framed and lit to the color progression, right down to the effectively minimal score which is carefully placed. There is an incredible attention to detail in every aspect of this film. However, this is not a film for everyone as it assumes patience and sophistication on the part of the audience. Nothing is obvious or spelled out in fact we don't even know the two main characters names until about 20 minutes into the film.

From frame one this film sets its own rules and strictly follows them making "Em" a unique and cohesive work of art!
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A Must See!!!
mariposa948 August 2008
This view is a spot on yet tender depiction of mental illness and its' ravages on a loving relationship. This is also a perfectly paced sad sweet love story that beautifully encapsulates the relationship in all its phases: discovery disappointment anguish and acceptance. I loved the way the film captured the city landscape as well as the interior landscape of the extremity of moods and the dashing of expectations that are part and parcel of bi-polar disorder. There are no cartoonish depictions, no sensationalism or oversimplification of the often misrepresented and constantly misunderstood realities of mental illness. It is also a visually gorgeous film saturated with color and a profundity of powerful images.
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A deeply touching as well as disquieting film
runamokprods24 February 2012
This low budget indie tells the story of a young man's love for a woman stricken with bi-polar disorder.

In a small, quiet, character based film like this performances are everything, and director Barbieri gets two very strong ones from Nathan Wetherington and Stef Willen.

There is something very personal about the way the story is told, and it manages to avoid the two obvious traps – becoming soapy or becoming clinical. Armed with a penetrating eye for framing, and a willingness to really watch what's happening on the actors'faces between the lines in almost a Bergmanesque way, there is a real intimacy in the film, as well as a haunting sense of loss. One of the better, more honest and more effecting films about mental illness and its effects I've seen.
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Genuine and Beautiful
PirateOther25 June 2008
Em is a compelling and simple film. Subtle and beautiful, it unwraps the lives of two people struggling to come to peace with their emotions. Relating to anyone who has ever dealt with or encountered someone with a mental illness, Em is a movie that speaks to all generations.

Editing progresses the film quickly, relying on the viewer to fill in any gaps. Actors focus on relaying emotion rather than speaking lines and before you know it, you're hooked.

This movie achieves what every film should aspire to – it tells an intelligent and well planned story without any pretense. Told with the up most care, Tony Barbieri deserves great credit for creating a painfully honest film about what it means to love.
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Amanda is a strong person.
wes-258-6883786 January 2012
EM is a true movie about Bipolar. You see how the character of Amanda grows and you feel her strength. She is true what she is going through,"Amanda says some people get more pain than others" it imply s why suicide comes to play. Amanda, dominates in every scene she is in. All I could say at the last scene, she is so Brave. If you look at all the other characters they take a back seat to her. Amanda goes through her life a lot by being alone. Yet each character has learned from her presence. Bipolar has a stigma in the society today but many are extremely bright people. I find in many ways ignorance no matter how educated or successful and not want to learn of things that don't fit in their lives.
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the beauty of Em
xelcue16 April 2009
I LOVED Em! And that is an understatement. I thought the writing was phenomenal, the acting, the story were so raw and real. When the film came to a close, I didn't want to leave my seat. I just wanted to know more about Josh and Em. I felt attached to them, like a mother watching her child leave for college, I wanted to hold onto them. Maybe I'm sounding a bit overboard, but rarely do I rave about films like this. The story took an original look at a dysfunctional, yet so "normal," relationship between ordinary people. And then there's the cinematography- loved it, too. There were scenes told almost wholly in close ups, the rack focuses between two characters in a conversation, the natural shots of the setting... I could go on but you should see it yourself.
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Great film about mental illness
Kimberly April21 September 2011
The two characters in the film have a strong love for each other but they struggle with the shadow of mental illness. This film is very well written, usually it's hard to watch such a drama but it's balanced out with the good things in the couple's relationship and why they try so hard to make it work. This should be something everyone should see especially since most of us know someone living under these conditions. It's an honest shot of what that person encounters from day to day.

The actors are also absolutely amazing - relatively unknown, though they have more talent than any I've ever watched.

Must see.
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Compelling story
z z15 August 2011
This story forcefully reminds you of the wonder of falling in love and the reckoning that can follow. The title character is portrayed by Stef Willen. Ms. Willen brings both vulnerability and grace to the screen. She commands your attention each time she appears. Nathan Wetherington also delivers a poignant performance as Josh. Beautiful cinematography is apparent from start to finish. Film was awarded the 2008 Seattle International Film Fesitval American Cinema Grand Jury Prize. Directed by Tony Barbieri. This film garnered producers Jim Jermanok and Harry Gregson-Williams an honor at the 2009 Brooklyn International film festival for Outstanding Achievement in Production.
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Stef Willen is a terrible actress
lizardleaping424 March 2013
This movie failed on many levels. Mostly, it was utterly humorless and it lacked any intelligence. The actress, Stef Willen, was strangely masculine and seemed more creepy than mentally ill. She was unlovable with her wacky hats and phony expressions,and it made no sense that he male lead would tolerate her. There was no exploration of mania other than she likes to sky dive or buy one way tickets. Absurd. The sex scenes were gratuitous and yucky. Why an aspiring actress would so degrade herself for this lousy film is sad. I hope never to see Stef Willen's bad acting and annoying face in any other film. This was a missed opportunity. A waste of time.
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Doesn't Really Focus On Mental Illness
nammage2 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It's a quiet slow moving film; which to me: is not a minus. The character Em is bipolar, medication doesn't help her; she seems to be immune to their effects, and she struggles with her illness on a daily basis. While the film is called "em" the film is not actually centered on her, it's centered on the man that just comes into her life, and how he's able not only to deal with her illness but also in recognizing she's actually ill.

I thought some of fhe sexual scenes in the beginning was a bit unnecessary. Story-wise it doesn't actually add anything. Yeah, they're in a new relationship, and they're falling in love with each other (him faster than her) but other than to show nudity, what was the overall point? Maybe I'm getting old. Those are basically the only critiques I have of the film; otherwise, I enjoyed it. Nice quiet movie.
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..she really is in a league totally alone..
bjarias9 March 2017
..it gives some idea of the film, that there are only ten IMDb written user reviews in total, and the last one is four years old.. hardly anyone's heard of Em, and assuredly less have actually seen it... but it had won accolades and awards at several film festivals.. and yet this is one of the best little films dealing with romance, heartbreak, and mental illness that you will be fortunate to come across.. and she is one of the best young actors that you will discover.. and yet according to IMDb she has only four productions to her credit.. {and with eight years on twitter only 169 followers).. it is unfathomable that it is only this one film production of hers having merit, and it's been her last major work since.. what happened to her.. that could be a story-line for a screenplay in itself..
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The name of the film should be Am since the lousy actress, stef willen's is named amanda in this awful little production
sedektirdoff7776 October 2013
Ms Willen seems to suffer from a narcissism that leads her to appear self conscious. Such a self involvement causes us to feel nothing but annoyance for this lady who wears hats and twirls around in nursing homes to indicate manic highs. The least she could do was to research the matter before playing a character allegedly being under the throes of mania. As it stands, Stef Willen merely comes across as mentally challenged woman who is so addled that she doesn't correct this boyfriend when he calls her EM. If my name was Amanda I'd sure as hell think that shortened it would lead to AM. If the name was Emily this oversight could be overlooked. Add in the gratuitous sex scenes and Willen's manly shoulders and you have a real lemon on your hands. It is no wonder that this was the last acting gig given to Willen.She should stick to short films such as Long Ago-- Christy Wegener's unsung masterpiece about a self conscious lesbian(played by Stef Willen) who has a rat tail and such.
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