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Emile (2003)

Cast: Ian McKellen, Deborah Kara Unger, Theo Crane, more...
Director: Carl Bessai
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Studio: Monarch Video
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 93 min.
Languages: English
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Independent Canadian filmmaker Carl Bessai directs Emile, the final entry in his identity trilogy that started with Johnny and Lola. Ian McKellen plays Emile, a retired university professor who travels from England to his hometown in Canada in order to accept an educational honor. Visiting the family farm in Saskatchewan, he recalls his childhood relationships with brothers Freddy (Tygh Runyan) and Carl (Chris William Martin). He stays with his grown-up niece, Nadia (Deborah Kara Unger), who still hasn't forgiven him for his misdeeds of the past. Trying to make up for abandoning her, Emile develops an emotional bond with her daughter, Maria (Theo Crane). Emile premiered at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Faux Redemption by talltale May 12, 2005 - 7:45 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
EMILE is nicely photographed and offers numerous looks at Ian McKellen's increasingly jowly puss, which is always fun to watch--even if, as in this film, he spends most of his time walking somnambulantly around in ill-considered flashbacks of his character's youth, in which he appears nonetheless as an old man. Reuniting with an estranged family is a perfectly valid storyline but it demands something other than the slow pace and obvious clichés offered here.

The marketing people have helpfully stamped the theme of the film right onto the DVD ("redemption"), and the moviemakers achieve this all too conveniently and nearly effortlessly in last-minute, feel-good fashion. If only the mistakes and guilt of our lives could be so easily dispensed with! Deborah Kara Unger provides some much needed tartness and disbelief, until her character, too, joins the ranks of the too-easily forgiving. Yes, we all want to feel good. But come on, filmmakers: Don't keep "gifting" us. Make us earn it.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.00)
2 Votes
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