Emily Movie Review

Once thought of as actress Frances O’Connor from such films as “Mansfield Park,” “A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE” and “The Conjuring 2,” she’s now Actress, Writer, and Director Frances O’Connor. And what an undertaking she took on for her debut film. I must first mention what a fine job she did choosing her cast and crew. Abel Korzeniowski’s score is nothing short of transcendent. During the opening credits, it’ll have you in the mood for something heavy and exciting to watch. And this will be the case during the remainder of the film. She couldn’t have picked a better costume designer, cinematographer, or cast, either.

O’Connor’s chosen subject choice is notable, that of legendary English writer Emily Brontë. Her most known literary work is “Wuthering Heights,” which she wrote in 1847. She also wrote over 200 poems during her career. I wish I had read “Wuthering Heights” before watching the film about its author, but I think I can say it’s in safe hands with O’Connor’s directing style.


Emily was a big inspiration to her sister Charlotte, played by Alexandra Dowling, who later went on to pen “Jane Eyre.” In fact, the dramatization of the relationship between the sisters will interest you greatly. They squabble over many things, one being whether the new man in town, William Weightman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), is good. Charlotte doesn’t like to be proven wrong when Emily warns her that he’s not the man she thinks he is. No one listens to their siblings.

Emma Mackey’s (Death on the Nile) portrayal of Emily Brontë is well-developed and innovative. Her take on this character is dynamic. Her performance makes me curious to watch the new “Barbie” movie. A sentence I never thought I’d utter.

There is a moment when the movie gets quite dark. During a party, Emily dons a mask that once belonged to her deceased mother. The intense scene seems to suggest that she may have been possessed and, in those days, play or not, that subject wasn’t something to be toyed with. It’s later that Weightman asks more of Emily in church-related matters. Emily asks that if God gave everyone a brain to think with, why would he be upset if people used them to do as they pleased instead of being sheep following the herd. I was impressed with O’Connor touching this subject as she does here.


Emily’s kinship with her artistic brother Branwell (Fionn Whitehead) was moving. He tells her that the one true happiness in life is to love and be loved. She appreciates the reminder. I liked their characters together. In fact, their story was so alluring that perhaps it could be examined more deeply in another movie by, say, Frances O’Connor?

Emily died at only thirty, but luckily when she “put pen to paper,” she was able to leave her legacy behind. Had not so many passed away at such young ages as did her brother Branwell, there would most likely be many more impressive pieces of work to discuss today from that family alone. They were held back only by the times they were born into. Their story is filled with tragedy, but watch with an open mind, knowing going in, you’ll be saddened, unsettled yet stirred. Not a bad way to spend two hours.


Director: Frances O’Connor
Writer: Frances O’Connor
Starring: Emma Mackey, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Fionn Whitehead

Rating: R
Runtime: 2h 10m
Genres: Biography, History, Drama, Romance

Producer: Piers Tempest, Robert Connolly, David Barron

Distributor: Bleecker Street



tmc.io contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for tmc.io. I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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