Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
Unfortunately saddled with one of those titles that leaves itself open to pun-filled reviews , there's not much truth to be found in The Truth About Emanuel, a film that's sadly unaware with how utterly ridiculous it comes across to the viewer.
The story follows Emanuel (Katia Scodelario), a surly teenager who's closing in on 18, but still feels pangs of guilt due to the fact that her mother died while giving birth to her. She takes out her anger on her new stepmom (Frances O'Connor), and her doting father (Alfred Molina) struggles to understand the fire burning inside his daughter. Emanuel begins to connect with her mysterious new neighbor Linda (Jessica Biel), who Emanuel agrees to babysit for.
The film's twist, which is revealed within the first act of the movie, is that Linda's daughter isn't a real baby, but a doll that Linda thinks is real and is using as a coping mechanism. Not wanting to break the spell that Linda has cast on herself, Emanuel goes along with Linda's psychosis, and what follows is a ridiculous game of "keep away" (or, better put, "pretend the baby is alive") like some twisted, direct-to-DVD sequel of Weekend at Bernie's. Emanuel bends over backwards to prevent anyone to get a glimpse at the plastic baby, and the last hour of the movie feels like a rejected C-plot of the worst mid-'80s sitcom never created.
The film's two protagonists are flip sides of the same grief stricken coin. Emanuel is a daughter riddled with the guilt over killing her mother, while Linda's very being is swallowed up by the loss of her child. The film wants to say some very poignant things about loss and grief, but even without the fake baby plotline flinging the story down into the bowels of unintentional farce, the film's writing is still too blunt and sloppy to express its ideas well. The characters ring false and the script clunks and clatters its whole way through with groan inducing lines. Adding the baby plotline on top of all that ensures that almost nothing in this film that comes off as "true."
There is a film in here somewhere that could have carried the story about the coping mechanisms we build to escape our grief, but The Truth About Emanuel just isn’t self aware enough to know how ridiculous it comes across, and the cast just isn't up to task to sell a dramatic story that could have just as easily worked as the main gag in a backburner SNL skit.
Sony’s gearing up to bring the thinking man’s version of Cleopatra to the screen and it looks like they’re circling director Paul Greengrass of Bourne series fame. Now that he’s out of the running for the upcoming Bourne film, he’s got time to lend his expertise to the historical endeavor, besides, thanks to the prospect of two Avatar (yup, T-W-O) sequels, former frontrunner James Cameron is out of the picture.
The film’s producer Scott Rudin also told Deadline that they’re “pretty close” to their decision on who’ll take the director’s chair for the upcoming 3D film; he also said they “like the idea” of bringing Greengrass onboard. The film already has Angelina Jolie attached as the Egyptian Queen (who else, really?) and Rudin has said that the film will focus less on the sexy Cleopatra that pop culture loves so well and more on the political role she played. The film is based off a Pulitzer Prize winning biography by Stacy Schiff that offers the rare woman’s perspective on Cleopatra’s life.
Seeing that political intrigue and the accompanying action have been Greengrass’ bread and butter for the Bourne movies and Green Zone, I can’t see any reason the studio wouldn’t want to snatch him up for the project. Besides, Rudin’s being admittedly very picky; he told Deadline, “A lot of directors want to do it, but there is only a handful we'll make it with.” I hope Greengrass is as excited about this prospect as I am; then we can look forward to him putting ink to paper and sealing the deal.
Michael Douglas is set to star in Solitary Man with Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito and Jenna Fischer in talks to co-star.
Douglas will play a car magnate with a runaway libido, says Variety.
Brian Koppelman and David Levien are directing. Production is to begin in November in New York.
Michael Douglas plays a former owner of a car dealership chain whose career and marriage were destroyed by his business and romantic indiscretions, Variety reports.
Paul Schiff and Steven Soderbergh are producing. Koppelman and Levien previously directed
Knockaround Guys and also wrote Soderbergh’s next film, The Girlfriend Experience.
Douglas, it was reported last week, will star in a Liberace film that Soderbergh is developing to direct.