The Truth About Emanuel (2013)

This movie was also called The New Neighbor and Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes. I will probably never understand why movies can go through so many different titles before or even after release. I'm not sure that any of these titles would have been great for this movie, but something like The Insane Woman and Her Insane Friend seems a bit pedestrian and takes out the mystery.

The truth about her (Emanuel) is that she never had a mother. Her mother died during childbirth, and it seems to consume her. Kaya Scodelario says impolite things during a nice dinner with her father and stepmother, she lashes out at a boy she likes, and she otherwise acts like a normal late-teen girl. Her strange fascination with France and questionable fashion choices aside, she seems fairly normal, if not particularly well-adjusted.

Speaking of not well-adjusted, Jessica Biel moves in as the next door neighbor who needs a babysitter. Even though Kaya has a job working in a drug store, she volunteers to babysit. Jessica looks mysteriously similar to Kaya's dead mother, but that's not her defining characteristic. And no, her bangs are also not her defining characteristic, thank you very much. Instead, it's the fact that she has a doll that she thinks is her actual baby. There's no indication as to if she ever actually had a real baby or if this is a replacement for the child she couldn't let go of. Kaya winds up enabling her delusion and trying to protect her from anyone who would shatter it. Kaya gets pretty emotionally invested in the whole thing.

Bad things will inevitably happen when someone figures out that Jessica is as nutty as a Planters factory, and that spells doom not just for Jessica, but also for Kaya, who has over-invested in the fake life that she, Jessica, and the doll have built over the weeks. Yes, it will happen. You can feel it building, and it's not readily apparent what will happen when the great reveal comes.

Acting was very good
Direction was good
Dialog was good
Plot was okay
Production quality was high.



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