My Name is Emily

Jun 29, 2016 | Posted by in 2016, EIFF
EIFF 2016

A young woman sets out on a journey to reunite with her father while learning some important life lessons in Simon Fitzmaurice’s My Name is Emily.

Emily (Evanna Lynch) is almost immediately seen to be a really complex character who looks at life in interesting ways. This is clearly attributed to the influence of her father, Robert (Michael Smiley) who thought very philosophically about life to the point that he could be seen as a societal outcast and an unfit parent.

As such there is a lack of closure to Emily’s relationship with her father and she makes it her mission to reunite with him after breaking him out of a Mental Asylum. She takes one of her schoolmates, Arden (George Webster) along for the ride and the bulk of it is a road trip story where Emily and Arden ponder some deep philosophical questions.

My Name is EmilyYou’d be forgiven for thinking that this whole thing is very pretentious because it is in many ways. There are discussions about there being no such thing as facts since they are all opinions and other such things but it’s handled with a level of sophistication that’s hard to dislike. Evanna Lynch is more than capable of handling the weighty material given to her and she generally comes across as a really thoughtful character with lots of emotional depth.

The script never forgets that Emily is a young woman and I think that’s where the bulk of the charm is. Yes she’s smart and yes she has an understanding of the world that makes her wise beyond her years but there’s a naivety to her that really comes through. She doesn’t have all of the answers; she only thinks she does and that is ultimately what drives this film. There are points in the story where she is completely overwhelmed by a given situation and doesn’t know how to react. Moments like this give Emily a human quality that really comes through.

Arden is a less developed character but his main function in the story is to get Emily where she needs to be. There are attempts to flesh him out by showing a turbulent relationship with his dad but broadly he’s a guy who goes on a random adventure because a pretty girl asked him to. George Webster is fine in the role and has good chemistry with Lynch but his character feels somewhat out of place some of the time.

Michael Smiley as Emily’s father, Robert is great. He is wonderfully off the wall while still showing lots of compassion for his daughter. His relationship with Emily is both believable and memorable with their interactions being some of the strongest material in the film.

For the most part the film moves along at a decent pace but there are moments that feel pointless such as a confusingly dark moment on a beach towards the end of the film. The intention was probably to show how strong willed Arden could be but it misses the mark completely. Thankfully moments like this are few and far between.


A well put together coming of age story with great performances from the lead actors and a good sense of pace to it. Aside from some pretentious dialogue and a handful of moments that feel over the top the film really works. A lot of this is down to the strong characterisation and the relationships between those characters. It’s a wonderfully understated film that can’t help but suck you in with its philosophical charm.

  • 8.5/10
    My Name is Emily - 8.5/10


Kneel Before…

  • strong characterisation
  • excellent performances
  • an engaging story

Rise Against…

  • pretentious dialogue
  • some confusingly over the top moments
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