“Emily” imagines Emily Brontë’s own Gothic story that inspired her seminal novel, ‘Wuthering Heights.‘ Haunted by her mother’s death, Emily struggles within the confines of her family life and yearns for artistic and personal freedom, and so begins a journey to channel her creative potential into one of the greatest novels of all time.
When I’m watching a biopic on the life of Emily Brontë, who wrote Wuthering Heights, I expect to see Heathcliff ehoes in some of the male characters. Check. Moors, moors and more moors. Check. Rain and moors. Lovers running in the moors from the rain. Check. A smart depiction of Emily Brontë and her creative process. Beep, not so much.
Between the two famous Emily’s: Dickinson and Brontë, Emily makes the case that the Belle of Amherst (Dickinson) is the smarter, more complicated character, and better writer. Brontë is depicted as a petulant teen, constantly stoking sibling rivalry for Daddy’s affections, and whose main writing qualifications is that she can imagine a better ghost story than her sister Charlotte. Not a single sentence from Wuthering Heights is mentioned, not a single line from her over 200 poems or a paragraph from her numerous essays.
To its credits, Emily does make a stab at period authenticity. The costumes and sets are authenticated mock-ups, and parts were shot in surviving Yorkshire manor houses. The dialogue has that standard faux pompous nature common to every British period piece. And most disappointing, the plot is standard issue bodice ripper with a few petulant character notes thrown in to make the Emily Bronte here seem more modern, independent. It’s essentially a Netflix teen romance with historical trappings- Bridgerton lite without the regal sheen.
My wife liked it. For me, it was a promising historical misfire that never tried to live up to its potential. Emily gets a 3.0 out of 5 or a B. You can stream it on Paramount Plus.
- Jo Bamford
- Robert Patterson
- Piers Tempest
- Emma Mackey
- Fionn Whitehead
- Oliver Jackson-Cohen
- Alexandra Dowling
- Amelia Gething
- Adrian Dunbar
- Gemma Jones
- 9 September 2022(TIFF)
- 14 October 2022(United Kingdom)