There have been a lot of period piece films depicting the lives of people in the 1800s in the United States or the United Kingdom. Sometimes they are autobiographical in nature. That’s the case with Emily. It’s about the famous author Emily Bronte who passed away at the age of thirty. From what has been said she passed away too early in life from cholera.
Emily Bronte (Emma McKay) is a young woman growing up in England in the 1800s. She lived with her father and two sisters. She worked in the house and when she had free time she wrote poetry and played make-believe with her sisters in the rolling hills of Yorkshire. She has a curious nature about her and eventually explored her burgeoning sexuality with a potential romance with an eligible bachelor William Weightman (Oliver Jackson Cohen)
Emily Bronte is a world-famous author whose book Wuthering Heights is an autobiographical look at her life. The real Emily Bronte was a complicated young woman who was curious and interested in learning and being her own woman. Not beholden to any man. Her father or boyfriend or potential courtesans that may come calling. She wants to be her own woman despite what society at the time thought she should be like.
Emma McKay is known for the Netflix romantic drama series Sex Education where she played Marie Wiley, the object of affection from Asa Butterfield’s character. She is a sex pot. Malay has parlayed her role in Sex Education into a role in the Kenneth Branagh film Death on the Nile. The sequel to Murder on the Orient Express. She has shown much growth in her young career but the role of Emily Bronte might be the best of her career thus far.
Malay brings an elegance and glamor to the role of Emily Bronte I haven’t seen this year. Even though she’s in long dresses and hats most of the time she exudes more beauty and loveliness than any character in any film I’ve seen all year. She is an absolute standout in this role. She has her ups and down as the character but throughout she brings the character to life. Like most young women or girls they have a playful nature and MacKay brings that and much more to this character.
In this era, some diseases warrant being able to be cured at the time. Such as cholera. It killed millions of people during this era in history. It was usually spread in water and the water of the time wasn’t able to be filtered like today. The disease even affected Emily Bronte’s brother Branwell Bronte (Fionn Whitehead). The film shows the effects of this disease but doesn’t dwell on it too much. This was a small part of the story of Emily Bronte’s life even though it was what killed her in the end.
Emily shows an era in history that sometimes gets overlooked because it’s not in the United States. We forget there is a whole big world out there besides our town, state, or country. This story took place in England in the 1800s and depicted the life of the famous author Emily Bronte. The filmmaker Francis O’Connor chose to show the beautiful and curious side of Emily Bronte which is what makes this film so good. She wasn’t the easiest person to live with or talk to regarding her sisters and father but she had a spirit that couldn’t be stopped until it finally was by disease. The book, Wuthering Heights, she authored will forever live on and her memory is in that story. O’Connor made a film any young would watch and feels empathy for this beautiful woman who had so much more to give. This is a wonderful portrayal of this beautiful young woman by Malay.
3 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen