EMILY puts two English characters within the framework of a stereotypically French film, deconstructing a common sexual fantasy to explore the moment two strangers meet and attempt to fill their loneliness with each others' need.
In the 1850s, Ellen Ternan is a minimally talented actress who catches the eye of the hailed British author, Charles Dickens. Bored with his intellectually unstimulating wife, Dickens takes the educated Ellen as his mistress with the cooperation of her mother. What follows is a stormy relationship with this literary giant who provides her with a life few women of her time can enjoy. Yet, Ellen is equally revolted by Charles' emotional cruelty and determination to keep her secret. In that conflict, Ellen must judge her own role in her life and decide if the price she pays is bearable. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones, who play lovers in this movie, also worked together in Cemetery Junction (2010), in which they played father and daughter. In a 2013 interview with Jones and Fiennes on NPR, Jones said that it was "weird" and "very Freudian" to go from playing one relationship to the other, but Fiennes disagreed, saying "It's just a job. Come on." See more »
Very early in the film, Dickens introduces a member of his acting troupe as "Mr. Berger" with a 'soft' g, like a j; moments later, he refers to him as "Mr. Berger" with the g pronounced as 'hard'. There's no explanation for this discrepancy. See more »
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is a profound secret and mystery to every other.
Until that secret is given to another to look after. And then perhaps two human creatures may know each other.
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The film is rich in atmosphere, recreating the sights and sounds of the Victorian era, along with some excellent acting on the part of all the actors, especially Felicity Jones who plays Charles Dickens' "invisible woman". But the story is overly long, taking too much time to tell the tale, as if this film itself were one of Dickens' serialized novels for which he was paid by the page. In addition, the strange choice to have no musical sound track detracts from the film, leaving it bland in spots. There is some merit with turning down the music and listening to life, but there is equal merit to having the music accompany the scene, and this film doesn't strike a good balance. Fiennes' previous directorial effort "Coriolanus" (2011) was excellent, but the current film demonstrates he has a lot more to learn.
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