Emily the Criminal

Watch Emily the Criminal

"High risks come with even higher rewards."
  • R
  • 2022
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 6.7  (52,681)
  • 75

Emily the Criminal is an American crime thriller film released in 2022, directed by John Patton Ford in his feature directorial debut and starring Aubrey Plaza in the title role. The film tells the story of Emily, a down-on-her-luck woman living in Los Angeles who finds herself buried under a mountain of debt and unable to escape the chokehold of her precarious financial situation. Struggling with the impact of her past mistakes and seeking a way out of her hardships, Emily’s situation encapsulates the frustrations of many who feel trapped by societal and economic pressures.

Aubrey Plaza, known for her uncanny ability to portray characters with complex emotional landscapes, takes the lead with a commanding performance that showcases her versatility as an actress. She brings a raw intensity to the character of Emily, an art school graduate whose promising future is derailed by the weight of her student loans and an unyielding job market. The film delves into the themes of desperation and moral ambiguity as Emily wrestles with the choices she faces and the consequences that they entail.

The narrative follows Emily as she maneuvers through the thankless world of gig economy jobs, barely making ends meet. With her back against the wall, her attempts to find a stable and well-paying job are thwarted by her record—something that haunts her every step of the way. When a seemingly innocuous opportunity leads Emily to encounter the shady underworld of Los Angeles, she is introduced to a high-stakes, illegal operation spearheaded by the charming and manipulative Youcef, portrayed by Theo Rossi. His character adds another layer to the narrative, as Youcef becomes both a mentor and a complicating factor in Emily's quest for financial freedom.

As Emily gets involved in the organization's credit card scam operation, she discovers a talent for the criminal undertakings and is lured deeper into the enterprise by the allure of easy money. The film masterfully captures both the stress and adrenaline of her actions, pulling viewers into the heart-racing world of financial crime. The screenplay astutely addresses contemporary issues such as the economic disenfranchisement of millennials, the predatory nature of loan systems, and the often invisible barriers that prevent individuals from climbing out of poverty.

Bernardo Badillo's character further enriches the narrative, adding more dimensions to the moral and ethical crossroads the characters encounter. Each character is faced with their own set of difficult decisions, and the audience is given insight into the motivations that drive people to cross lines they would never have considered crossing before.

Emily the Criminal excels in painting a portrait of a woman seeking control over her own life amid chaos. The film's suspense is built not just through criminal escapades, but through the poignant examination of Emily's relationships and her internal struggle between right and wrong. The storytelling remains tight and focused, ensuring that each scene builds upon the one prior, keeping viewers engaged and invested in the outcome.

Director John Patton Ford crafts an atmosphere of palpable tension and quiet desperation, employing a documentary-style approach that brings a sense of realism to the film. This realism is echoed in the film's visual style, characterized by handheld camera work and a color palette that evokes the stark contrasts of Los Angeles—from its sun-soaked streets to the dimly lit enclaves where illicit deals take place.

What sets Emily the Criminal apart from other movies in its genre is the nuanced approach it takes to its protagonist. Emily is neither glorified as an antihero nor judged as a wayward soul; instead, the film invites viewers to empathize with her choices, understand her rationalizations, and reflect on the societal conditions that can push individuals towards crime as a means of survival.

Backing up the strong performances and gripping storyline is a tense and atmospheric score that underscores the film's exploration of crime and morality. The music complements the increasing tension while not overpowering the scenes, giving way to the actors' performances and the crackling undercurrent of danger that runs through the film.

Overall, Emily the Criminal is a thought-provoking thriller that doesn’t shy away from exploring the darker corners of economic desperation. The film succeeds in balancing the thrills of a crime story with a sobering commentary on the systemic failures that can lead ordinary people into extraordinary and perilous circumstances. With its standout cast, taut direction, and unflinching script, the film makes a powerful statement about the lengths people will go to in order to reclaim agency over their lives in a system stacked against them.

Emily the Criminal is a 2022 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 33 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 75.

Emily the Criminal
Where to Watch Emily the Criminal
Emily the Criminal is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Emily the Criminal for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (52,681)
  • Metascore