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movie review: the truth about emanuel

why you should watch kaya scodelario's star turn tonight.

by: liza darwin

December 19 2013

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Even though The Truth About Emanuel premiered way back in January at Sundance, it seems like critics have been talking about the dark drama all.year.long.

But for everyone who didn't get to catch it in person, we're in luck--the film's now available to watch on VOD before it hits theaters next month. So obviously we had to stay in and watch it last night (tough job, but someone's gotta do it!) to see what all the buzz is about. 

Directed by Francesca Gregorini (who also helmed 2009'sTanner Hall), the film centers around only child Emanuel (Scodelario), a brooding 17-year-old who loves to talk back to her stepmother, make up stories, and keep mostly to herself. You soon learn that her mother died in childbirth, and Emmanuel carries with her the guilt of taking her mother's life and not being an "Olympic athlete or scientist to make it worth it" (hence the attitude). 

Things change when a mysterious new neighbor (Biel) asks her to watch her newborn baby, and because the woman resembles her late mom, Emanuel agrees. Without giving away any spoilers--because nothing in the movie is quite as it seems--what soon ensues is a twisted, complex look into how different people grieve and what happens when others become sucked in.

Sound heavy? It is. But trust us, this movie isn't depressing--it'll just make you think. Scodelario has said that she's been waiting for a strong female role ever since her role in Skins ended, and if you ask us, this is it. The English actress can freeze you with her stone-cold glare, make you self-conscious with a single smirk, and can charm basically anyone if she sets her mind to it.

This definitely isn't your average run-of-the-mill dark drama...with haunting themes of motherhood and reality versus fiction, Emanuel has hints of Lars and the Real Boy and Rosemary's Baby, if that's any indication what to expect. 

So branch out of your tired Netflix queue for something a little offbeat---and even better, watch it right this second while we wait to see Kaya Scodelario on screen again. 

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