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.
It seems once the voters in the National Society of Film Critics were able to dry their eyes after watching Michael Haneke's gut-wrenching tearjerker Amour, they could see a clear winner. The French drama about an elderly couple (played masterfully by Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant) coping with end-of-life struggles, was named Best Picture. Additionally, both Haneke and Riva earned accolades for Best Director and Best Actress, respectively. The foreign-language film has continued to both win over and depress critics and moviegoers alike since winning the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
In other categories, Oscar frontrunner Daniel Day-Lewis was named Best Actor by the National Society of Film Critics for his performance in Lincoln (the film's scribe Tony Kushner won for Best Screenplay), Matthew McConaughey was named Best Supporting Actor for his work in both Magic Mike and Bernie, and Amy Adams earned Best Supporting Actress for her powerhouse turn in The Master. (That film was also heralded with Best Cinematography.)
The National Society of Film Critics, which is composed of 60 of the nation's top critics, held their 47th annual awards meeting on Saturday, January 5 at Elinor Bunim Munroe Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. Here is the complete list of winners, complete with the voting number results:
Best Picture1. Amour – 282. The Master – 253. Zero Dark Thirty – 18 Best Actor 1. Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln – 59 2. Denis Lavant – Holy Motors – 493. Joaquin Phoenix – The Master – 49 Best Actress1. Emmanuelle Riva – Amour – 50 2. Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook –423. Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty – 32 Best Supporting Actor1. Matthew McConaughey – Magic Mike, Bernie – 272. Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln – 223. Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master– 19 Best Supporting Actress1. Amy Adams – The Master – 342. Sally Field – Lincoln – 233. Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables – 13 Best Director1. Michael Haneke – Amour – 272. Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty – 242. Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master – 24 Best Screenplay1. Lincoln – Tony Kushner – 592. The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson – 273. Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell – 19 Best Cinematography 1. The Master – 602. Skyfall – 303. Zero Dark Thirty – 21 Best Nonfiction1. The Gatekeepers - 532. This Is Not a Film – 453. Searching for Sugar Man - 23 Experimental: This Is Not a Film
[Photo credit: Sony Pictures]
'Amour' Is a Touching Punch to the Gut for Viewers Young and Old
'Zero Dark Thirty', 'Lincoln', 'Argo', 'Looper' Among WGA Award Nominees
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Newly single Katie Holmes is determined to get on with life after filing for divorce from Tom Cruise, defiantly telling reporters: "I'm alright."
The former Dawson's Creek star shocked Hollywood when she unexpectedly filed papers to end her five-year marriage to the movie superstar last week (28Jun12).
She refused to hide away despite having the eyes of the world on her, and stepped out with six-year-old daughter Suri on Tuesday (03Jul12) - the day of her estranged husband's 50th birthday.
The mother and daughter were seen laughing and joking in a New York ice cream parlour, and the actress spent Wednesday (04Jul12) shopping for Independence Day treats in Manhattan's Whole Foods grocery store.
She took the chance to finally break her silence on how she is coping, simply telling the New York Daily News, "I'm alright. Thank you."
Holmes' brave face comes amid reports she filed an emergency motion against Cruise to set up a temporary child support agreement earlier this week (begs02Jul12). The pair will allegedly appear before Judge Matthew Cooper on 17 July (12).
You love them, we love them, and it's high time Emmy recognized them. We're talking about the TV actors and actresses who have yet to be recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, despite drawing us in week in and week out with their awe-inspiring ability to make us laugh, cry, or a weird combination of both. So every day here at Hollywood.com, we're going to be saluting those on the small screen who deserve an Emmy nomination, longshot status be damned. Today, we cast our ballot for Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka.
The very recently concluded fifth season of Mad Men — a longtime Emmy darling that is sure to rack up a nomination or 5 — was arguably its most polarizing to date. Many fans and critics lauded the so-called "season of the women", while others criticized its increasingly pessimistic tone, and creator Matthew Weiner's sudden obsession with newcomer Jessica Paré. The series' eleventh episode, which found fan-favorite Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) making a very out of character decision, was especially divisive — but everyone seems to band together when it comes to the scene-stealing presence of Sally Draper (Shipka).
It's not like Sally's outstanding contributions to the show are anything new. After her fantastic performance as a child coping with her parents' divorce in season 3, she was promoted to series regular — which is an impressive feat for a kid on a show that focuses on sex, infidelity, and the human condition in New York's swinging '60s. (It's even more impressive when you remember that Weiner was asked to eliminate two characters during season five's long negotiation process.) But this season, as she began her difficult and often messy journey into womanhood amongst some of the most selfish characters on television, she became something else entirely — our relatable window into the madcap world of Mad Men.
The adult characters presented on this show — Don Draper in particular — are often larger than life. And the majority of Mad Men's viewers will have a hard time truly identifying with the Dons, the Bettys, and the Rogers that populate Mad Men's bizarre universe — mostly because we were either not alive, or children during the 1960's. Mad Men's fans didn't day drink in a corner suite or face office discrimination during the '60s or '70s, because we were too busy watching cartoons and falling for our own version of a creepy Glen. (Hey, no one said young love was perfect.) We're not watching ourselves on this show, we're watching our parents and grandparents — with much of the same wide-eyed, rapidly decaying innocence of Sally Draper. These people are messed up, and having Sally around as our honorary representative is important.
When Don was honored by the American Cancer Society in episode 7, Shipka managed to perfectly blend the shock and disgust Sally was feeling with her utmost desire to appear grown up and poised. Her face when she opened the door and found her step-grandmother fellating her "date" for the evening really said it all. When she called Glen later that night to complain that Manhattan was "dirty," boy did we agree with her. Even more impressive was her work in episode 4, "Mystery Date", which found Sally stuck at home with her miserable maternal step-grandmother, dealing with the abject horror of the Richard Speck murders. Grandma Pauline, ever a product of her own generation, expected the pre-teen Sally to behave like a fully grown adult, even though she frequently treated her like a child. (Been there.) Sally's well thought out but petulant behavior was great to watch, as was her perfectly appropriate childlike response to news of the murders. Who wouldn't want to curl up and hide upon first learning that true monsters really do exist? (No, not Betty Francis — though Sally's plot with her mother and step-mother is an Emmy-winner in itself.)
All in all, Shipka manages to steal every scene she's in. Though we love our Peggy, our Ken, and our Joan, it's Sally's experiences that are the most universally relatable, and it takes a very talented actor to make those experiences so emotionally powerful for the adults who went through them decades ago. Shipka makes it seem easy, and though we love Sunday night television's other female teen powerhouse (Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams as Arya Stark), it's Shipka that deserves the Emmy nomination this year. Thanks for making our own adolescence seem a little less terrifying in comparison.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: AMC]
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Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) doesn’t know how lucky she has it. She’s smart beautiful and married to Gerry (Gerald Butler) a passionate funny and impetuous Irishman who loves her with every breath in his body. But when that breath runs out--Gerry dies unexpectedly from an illness--Holly’s luck runs out. Barely coping her salvation arrives in the form of letters from Gerry that come to Holly in unexpected ways--letters he wrote to her before he died to help her get through the pain and move on with her life and letters that always end with “P.S. I Love You.” A saint huh? Holly’s mother (Kathy Bates) and best friends Sharon (Gina Gershon) and Denise (Lisa Kudrow) begin to worry Gerry’s letters are keeping Holly tied to the past but in fact each letter pushes Holly on a journey of rediscovery and to show her how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into new beginning for life. Tissues please! Swank will be damned if she pigeonholes herself into always playing serious women who don’t wear makeup. P.S. I Love You is her stab at romantic dramedy and while the genre may not suit her best the Oscar-winning actress still has fun playing a spirited woman who wears designer clothes cute hats and gets to make out with a strapping Irish hunk. Actually Swank gets to bed TWO strapping Irish hunks in P.S. I Love You: The first is the yummy Butler of course and the other is Gerry’s old bandmate William played by American Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who’ll be seen in the upcoming romantic comedy The Accidental Husband with Uma Thurman). Lucky girl. Butler however is the one the ladies will sigh over the most. Having already given a powerhouse performance this year as the Spartan king in 300 the Scottish actor turns the tables to show his soft underbelly as the adorably romantic and fun-lovin’ Gerry. The abs still rock though. One can easily see why Holly is such a mess after he dies. Gershon and Kudrow add some genuineness as Holly’s friends (someone please find a Kudrow a TV show) as does Bates as Holly’s hardened mother. Harry Connick Jr. however seems out of place as Holly’s would-be suitor. She just needs to stick with the Irish guys. Hilary Swank teams up with her Freedom Writers director Richard LaGravenese once again for P.S. I Love You and it’s clear they have a symbiotic relationship. Swank probably likes the way LaGravenese accentuates her best features turning her into a glam leading lady while LaGravenese obviously enjoys gazing at her through his camera lens. Unfortunately the two really haven’t found the best material. Freedom Writers is the mother of all teacher-gets-students-motivated retreads while P.S. I Love You--based on a novel by Cecelia Ahern and adapted by LaGravenese and Steven Rogers--is just pure fluff with very little substance behind it. Not that the film won't inspire some romantic feelings or work up tears but its only real strengths are: 1) the players who somehow rise about the triteness of it all especially Butler and 2) the gorgeous landscapes of Ireland which should send any woman in her right mind straight to the Emerald Isles to find her perfect man. Seriously ladies book your trips NOW.