Film Review: Emily the Criminal

America is perceived as the land of opportunity, but that’s only really true for certain people. 45 million Americans have student debt, with each graduate on average owing almost $40,000. That’s great for rich kids, not so much for those without wealthy parents. Having to start you career with a huge monthly outgoing is far from ideal. Just paying your rent and bills, before even thinking about enjoying life. A woman is pushed to the edge in Emily the Criminal.

Emily (Aubrey Plaza) is desperate to get a new job. Yearning to get out of her terrible shared apartment and quit her shitty catering job. To pay off the mounting debts and begin her life proper. Unfortunately for Emily, she has a criminal record, which is a huge stumbling block when it comes to finding rewarding employment. When an opportunity arises to earn some quick bucks buying goods with stolen credit cards, it’s too good to pass up.

Emily the Criminal works thanks to a thrilling central performance from Plaza. The story itself is fairly standard, in many ways, but the additional of a couple of pressing social issues makes it feel vital. Writer/Director John Patton Ford’s feature debut is a powerful indictment of the current system.  About a society where all Americans aren’t equal. Whilst Emily the Criminal might be a little too fatalistic for its own good, there’s much to admire in this impressive drama.

Emily the Criminal is out in US cinemas on 12 August.

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