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Brendan Sexton III
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It's Not Yet Dark tells the ground breaking story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a talented young Irish film maker with ALS (MND), as he embarks on directing his first feature film through the use of his eyes and eye gaze technology.
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Emily has been living in a foster home ever since her father was institutionalized after her mother's death. Still, she keeps in touch with him through the birthday cards he sends her every year. As Emily starts at a new school, she catches the attention of her shy classmate Arden. When her father doesn't send a birthday card on her 16th birthday, Emily decides to take matters into her own hands. Enlisting Arden's help, she runs away, and the pair set out on a road trip to break her father out of the psych ward. As their journey progresses, Emily and Arden must depend on each other as they learn about life, love, loss, and letting go.Written by
A beautiful, poetic road movie about love and loss and redemption.
There's a poetry to My Name is Emily. Not just in the words - it permeates the imagery and music as well. That should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Simon Fitzmaurice's work - his short films won all around them, lauded as lyrical and beautiful. His stream-of-consciousness film-making evokes a response on myriad levels - visually, musically, emotionally - and My Name is Emily succeeds on all fronts.
Emily, played beautifully by Evanna Lynch, is a troubled soul - deep and considered and stubbornly beyond conformity. She is wounded, armored and iron-strong. Arden, played with great charm by newcomer George Webster, is similarly bruised, but meets his own challenges with an infectious wit and enthusiasm. He hides his own pain under bravado, to a degree, and his inherent optimism and seize-the-day attitude are a perfect counterpoint to Emily's initial introspection. Their growth as characters as they journey across Ireland builds in an organic and believable way, gradually revealing themselves to each other, and in turn, the audience.
To call this movie a road trip is a little reductive - it is, for all intents and purposes, but the journey Simon so wonderfully evokes is through an emotional landscape as well as a physical one.
Parents loom large for both these characters, in different ways. Emily's father Robert is written across every aspect of her life. Their history together has forged her, left her vulnerable, searching for answers. Michael Smiley delivers a nuanced and powerful performance as Robert - a broken man, gradually remade through love and forgiveness.
Simon finds humor and pathos throughout, delicately balanced against themes of loss and redemption. He adds richness and texture in deft strokes, letting peripheral characters shine in fleeting moments - Arden's Granny, full of wit and wisdom, Emily's foster parents, crippled by their earnest middle-class nicety.
Emily's pain and loss simmer, fathoms deep, etched across every subtle expression. Lynch plays it flat at first, closed and impenetrable, but gradually opens up as the movie progresses. It's wonderful to see Emily start to smile and laugh, to watch her being freed as Arden helps her come out of herself, out of her pain. My Name is Emily is a poem about love and loss, darkness and light and everything in between.
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