Emily the Criminal – Sundance 2022

Aubrey Plaza appears in Emily the Criminal by John Patton Ford, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Low Spark Films.

Aubrey Plaza delivers a career-best performance in Emily the Criminal, which marks the feature directorial debut of John Patton Ford.

Ford had been to Sundance some twelve times earlier with a short film. It was fate that his feature directorial debut would debut during the January film festival. However, it’s just unfortunate that said debut was unable to premiere to a packed theater in Park City due to the pandemic. Produced in the heat of LA during the pandemic in twenty days, every frame was worth it as we’re never not on the edge of our seats.

Emily’s previous criminal record is what prevents her from being landing a job. It makes you wonder whether any reform will happen on this part. Unable to land a legitimate job, Emily takes matters into her own hands by becoming a “dummy shopper.” Paying for items with stolen credit cards is never a good thing but for Emily, it’s a quick way to make a buck in an economy working against her. She does this by working with Youcef (Theo Rossi) and continuing to get in deep. In Ford’s own words, Emily is a “Millenial Dirty Harry.” She takes it upon herself to make money an illegal way and discovers that she loves it. Emily ends up paying the consequences but for her, it was worth it.

This is one of those films that should resonate with recent college graduates in terms of the student debt aspect. One should never have to resort to crimes in order to pay down their student debut. Speaking for myself, I graduated from college just as the housing bubble burst and then struggled to find anything as the banks were going under and were subsequently bailed out by the government. Obviously, I would never do turn to crimes like Emily does. If President Biden is listening, Emily the Criminal offers a good reason for canceling student debt.

Whichever distributor that picks up Emily the Criminal has an awards-worthy performance in Aubrey Plaza.

CAST: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, and Gina Gershon

Emily the Criminal holds its world premiere during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres program.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.