Movie Review: Emily The Criminal


Student Loan debt, getting ripped off living in a bad apartment, having to take a bad job due to circumstances and mistakes you have made in the past. Your job is delivering food and is depressing with a boss who treats you badly. This is the real life story of millions of people in their 20’s, who through no fault of their own, were born at the wrong time and now realize that apartment living, with constantly rising rents, student loan debt that include outrageous interest payments, all add up to probably never being able to realize the American dream and owning their own home. In Emily’s unfortunate case, her luck has been mostly all bad, including a criminal record, with a good part of this not her fault.

The new movie “Emily The Criminal” is about a very challenged young women named Emily, played extremely well by Aubrey Plaza – who just might get an Academy Award nomination for this role. For many years Aubrey Plaza has been one of the best natural comedians. Her appearances on Talk Shows have demonstrated that with a subtle look with her eyes and a small comment she can make people laugh with what seems like no effort. This is an extremely rare talent that I have only seen with Johnny Carson, John Candy, Will Ferrell and Chelsea Handler.

With this well made film, Plaza is 100% dead serious, playing a desperate and very depressed young woman trying to find herself out of debt and a very bad job. This film is very effective at showing Emily’s bleak existence and her desperation to no matter what, save her own life. The following downward spiral is not only extremely well told and well acted, but most importantly believable – with the possible exception of the ending, that I thought had some glaring holes.

As this story, unfolds, Emily falls into working for a credit card fraud gang, where a group of criminals are able to create fake credit cards and buy merchandise (mainly flat screen TV’s) from stores. As the merchandise is taken from the store, it is immediately taken away in a van and then sold as stolen merchandise. This is a very dangerous racket that if caught, would result in many years in prison. This is the fundamental conflict within this story as Emily’s anger over a horrible existence becomes greater than the fear of spending many years in prison. This is the main idea behind the great TV series “Breaking Bad”.

It turns out that Emily, mainly due to her bad life, is very angry and is able to leverage her anger to be a brave fighter against some very dangerous people throughout this story. There is a relationship between Emily and Youcef played by Theo Rossi, who is one of the leaders of this credit card fraud gang. This relationship is also very well portrayed within this solid screenplay.

I mostly agreed with the final end to this story, that I thought was also believable based on Emily’s extreme circumstances that was leading her into an extremely difficult life of desperation and poverty that she would do almost anything to escape.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Emily The Criminal is a very high 93%, with my rating in the 88% range and a strong recommendation.

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