22 user 86 critic
1:53 | Trailer
A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.


Pablo Larraín
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mariana Di Girólamo ... Ema (as Mariana Di Girolamo)
Gael García Bernal ... Gastón
Santiago Cabrera ... Aníbal
Paola Giannini Paola Giannini ... Raquel
Cristián Suárez Cristián Suárez ... Polo
Giannina Fruttero ... Sonia
Josefina Fiebelkorn Josefina Fiebelkorn ... Perla
Mariana Loyola ... Sara
Catalina Saavedra ... Marcela
Paula Luchsinger ... María
Paula Hofmann Paula Hofmann ... Laura
Antonia Giesen ... Renata
Susana Hidalgo Susana Hidalgo ... Paulina
Eduardo Paxeco ... Carlos
Natalia Bakulic Natalia Bakulic ... Lisa


Ema, a young dancer, decides to separate from Gastón after giving back Polo, the son they both adopted and were unable to raise. In a desperate search through the streets of the port city of Valparaíso, Ema seeks love affairs in order to overcome her guilt. However, she has a secret plan to recover everything she's lost. Written by AnonymusB

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


In preparation for the role, Mariana Di Girólamo took dancing lessons. She also went to ballet and Pilates classes to improve her posture and make her look like a professional dancer. See more »


Ema: I'm going to horrify you.
Aníbal: Horrify me?
Ema: When you know what I'm doing, and why. You will be horrified.
Aníbal: Why wait? Scare me now.
See more »


Por las Noches
Written by Alein Francisca Gonzáles Pichunlaf and Rodrigo Ignacio De La Rivera Montt
Performed by De Lein
Published by Bravo por los Perros
See more »

User Reviews

Flame Thrower
11 September 2019 | by Raven-1969See all my reviews

A traffic light burns late at night in Valparaiso. This strange opening scene sets an unusual and colorful tone for the rest of Ema. Gradually it is understood how the light caught fire. Mysterious undercurrents and unusual passions swirl in human hearts. Dialogue, setting, music, dance scenes and characters follow similar rhythms and are typified most by Ema herself. She is a ball of fire. Energetic, devious and unpredictable, she prowls the streets of Valparaiso seeking sparks to reignite her damaged marriage, abandonment of her adopted son, struggling dance career and volatile self.

Sometimes there is no script. This is true in acting as well as life. According to Pablo Larrain at the Toronto international film festival, the actors received plot cues only at the last minute. Fluidity and dynamism were the results. The actors explored a new language. Traditional boundaries were also pushed with sexuality, family, the atmospheric and hypnotic music, dance and more. The film toys with notions of what is feminine and masculine. Mariana di Girolamo (Ema) is perfect for the role. Gael Garcia Bernal (Ema's hubby Gaston) is reunited with Pablo Larrain (nominated for three Oscars for the film Jackie). While I prefer thought and depth to the dialogue, the non-scripted acting achieves some intriguing results. The Valparaiso scenery is as thrilling as Mariana di Girolamo.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

26 September 2019 (Chile) See more »

Also Known As:

Ema See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Fabula See more »
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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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