Reviewer: Bradley B. Klinge Source:
Columbia Tri-Star Pictures
Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson
Paul Harris Boardman
Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Jennifer Carpenter
When a coroner investigates the death of 19-year-old Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), he discovers a battered body and evidence of a struggle. He also finds Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson), a Catholic priest who, together with Emily and her family, is convinced that Emily had been demon-possessed. Moore had cared for the girl by praying for her and performing an exorcism on her, but in the end, Emily’s affliction caused her to inflict lethal wounds on herself. Dismayed by the situation, the police immediately arrest Father Moore, charging him with negligent homicide. They claim that rather than performing “archaic and irrational” rites on Emily, Father Moore should have had her committed to a mental hospital, which could properly care for her obvious mental illness. Now Moore’s agnostic attorney, Erin Bruner (Laura Linney), must defend the priest and uncover the truth about the exorcism of Emily Rose.
First of all, I have to admit this film is much different than I had anticipated. All the previews on TV portray it as strictly a horror film. What people may not realize is that it’s also a courtroom drama. These two genres are blended together masterfully. This film, based on a true story, is certainly one I will never forget.
My first compliment goes to the cinematography. This film is successful in frightening audiences; not by special effects and over the top grotesque elements, but rather by the colors, lighting, and camera work. These elements, combined with excellent performances by Laura Linney and Jennifer Carpenter and great writing, kept me on the edge of my seat. The ways in which Carpenter was able to contort her body are disturbing and remarkable.
This film is Dove approved, but with a suggested audience of ages 12 and above. I want to warn people that, while Dove did approve this movie, discretion must be used. This film did not exceed our approval in any one category, but as a whole it may be too intense for some people due of the intense subject matter. For example, there are several scenes where Emily’s actions while possessed by demons are extremely disturbing. Her body is shown twisted and bent in ways which will churn any stomach.
The film deals mainly with some Catholic doctrine, since this was the Rose family’s religion, and Father Moore is a priest. Dove conducts reviews based on Judeo Christian values and ethics, but feel it’s not our place to comment on any specific doctrinal issues. This movie is a successful mixture of horror and drama, and I found it greatly entertaining. If you walk into the theater to merely watch an entertaining film, it never hurts to keep an open mind.
Read an Interview with Director Scott Derrickson:The Box Office Shouldn’t Fear “Emily Rose”
Content Description: Sex: None Language: S-1; B-1; H-3. Violence: Girl scratches and hits people during exorcism; horse shown kicking man to ground; girl jumps through window; man shown being hit by car; post-mortem picture shown. Drugs: Woman shown drinking; woman tells man she’s not drunk yet, but working on it. Nudity: None Other: Evil spirits move objects around in girl’s room, hold her down on her bed, open and close doors; girl becomes possessed by demons, which cause her to act very disturbingly, discontinue eating, and become violent, all at great personal cost. Girl is given choice by the Virgin Mary (appearing as an angel) to end her suffering and move on to heaven, or continue living in her current condition until she dies, as a sacrifice to show the world the reality of a spiritual realm. Audio tape played in courtroom from attempted exorcism, which includes many disturbing sounds; disturbing images in flashback.