EMILY (2022)

Emily film poster

Great art can come from or be springboarded by great heart-break. That’s the premise that Australian actor Frances O’ Connor delivers in her directorial debut in this semi-fictional, partly dramatised version of the last few years in the life of the great English writer, Emily Brontë.

Having seen the film I thought it time to actually read Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and so the next day I bought it from my favourite local bookshop, The Best Little Bookshop in Town (if you’re ever in Cronulla, Sydney, Australia please check it out, it’s a great bookshop) and I am enjoying it so far. I love it when one medium takes me to another.

Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Emma Mackey in Emily.

Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Emma Mackey in Emily.

This film focusses on Emily and is held together brilliantly by an amazing central performance by Emma Mackey, her portrayal traverses the emotional landscape with depth and daring. Also starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen as William Weightman who Emily becomes involved with, Amelia Gething playing her younger sister Anne Brontë, Alexandra Dowling as older sister Charlotte, Fionn Whitehead as brother Bramwell, the mighty Adrian Dunbar (“Mother of God”) as the father, Patric and Gemma Jones as Aunt Branwell. Everyone is committed, talented and all give great performances. Being directed by an actor definitely helps the process.

Adrian Dunbar, Gemma Jones, Emma Mackey and Amelia Gethin in Emily

Abel Korzeniowski musically scores the film beautifully, at times wistful and others heart wrenchingly so. 

What is it with violins and their ability to connect to and express the feelings and emotions of the heart? Is there an instrument that does specifically that any better? Think of Itzhak Perlman’s playing on John William’s soundtrack to Schindler’s List. Heartbreaking.

The line is fine. Too much and it spoils, too little and it fails to garner an emotional response but just right….. Korzeniowski treads the line with grace and beauty.

The Brontë sisters.

The Brontë sisters.

Emily is known in town as ‘the strange one’ as her thinking lies outside the box and this is ultimately where her genius comes from. She writes poems that are lauded by her brother Branwell, her sisters and the local curate. Her father doesn’t know what to do with her and Emily becomes a teacher at a school before eventually finding it all too much and returning to the family home. She falls in love with the local Curate, William who is filled with confusion, and inner conflict and thus there the drama lies.

Deftly written and directed by Frances O’ Connor it tells of Emily’s short but passionate life utilising known events and imagined situations to dramatise her life.

Brilliant, moving and poetic this is a worthy addition to the mythology and history of the Brontës.
See it.

TANGERINES-‘Mandariinid’ (2013)


Set in Georgia in 1990 during the war, this quiet, powerful film tells the story of Iwo (Lembit Ulfsak), an Estonian man who has stayed behind in the region to harvest his crop of tangerines, and his neighbor, Juhan (Raivo Trass), also a tangerine farmer. The Georgian civil war has forced the rest of the locals to flee back to Estonia for safety in this tumultuous time.

After a bloody battle ensues nearby, Iwo takes in a Chechen soldier, Ahmed (Giorgi Nakashidze), a Muslim, and a Georgian soldier, Niko (Misha Meskhi), a Christian, who were both injured in the battle. These two sworn enemies promise not to kill each other as long as they are in Iwo’s house. Their performances are rooted in a palpable history.

This anti-war film leans towards the things that connect us as opposed to the those that separate us. What it has to say about current conditions between various religious factions all over the world is incredibly pertinent. Sit two humans next to each other and have them discover their commonalities and before long a bond can be formed.

Zara Urushadze directs this film with a quiet intimacy and humanity that is rarely seen in a war film. This is not strictly a war movie, merely a story set during a violent time in Georgia’s recent history. The quietness is its greatest strength, nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars (2015) and losing out to Pawel Pawlikowski’s ‘Ida’, it is well deserving of acclaim and worth seeking out.

The acting is brilliant, quiet and grounded; the cinematography by Rein Kotov is beautiful, capturing the village and the surrounding mountainous areas with simplicity and is more powerful because of it. The music is both haunting and filled with memories composed by Niaz Diasamidze. The motif theme for the film is below:


This is a film that many will not see and more’s the shame; it’s Georgian, subtitled, has very little in the way of action but is more powerful and important than a hundred studio movies put together; it is a deep, moving, anti-war film underpins the drama with the unsettling threat of battle always round the corner.

I want to see more of these; well-made, intelligent films that tackle serious subjects with subtlety and sensitivity.