The Truth About Emanuel

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The Truth About Emanuel
The Truth about Emanuel film poster.png
Directed by Francesca Gregorini
Produced by Matt R. Brady
Francesca Gregorini
Screenplay by Francesca Gregorini
Starring Jessica Biel
Kaya Scodelario
Alfred Molina
Frances O'Connor
Music by Nathan Larson
Cinematography Polly Morgan
Edited by Antony Langdon
MRB Productions
Pisces Rising Productions
Rooks Nest Entertainment
Release dates
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $4,404[1]

The Truth About Emanuel (previously Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes) is a 2013 drama thriller indie film written, directed and produced by Francesca Gregorini.[2] The film stars Jessica Biel, Kaya Scodelario, Alfred Molina, Jimmi Simpson, Aneurin Barnard and Frances O'Connor. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013.[3]


The movie tells the story of a young woman named Emanuel who is still wracked with guilt over her late mother who died giving birth to her. She meets a boy on the train on her way to her job at a medical supply shop named Claude, with whom she becomes romantically involved. Emanuel is also living at her small home in Los Angeles with her father and her step mother, to whom she is anti-social with because she isn't anything like her mother and tries to accuse her of thinking she is a lesbian, as per her name being Emanuel, as her parents believed she were going to be a boy, as a way to justify her bitterness to her step mother.

The next night a woman named Linda moves into the neighborhood as Emanuel's new next door neighbor and she is shocked when she notices she looked just like her late mother. When Emanuel discovers that she is in need of babysitter for her newborn baby, Emanuel-despite her disliking of children-agrees, claiming she'll need the extra money for her souvenir collection but it's only because she wants to get to know more about the woman who looks like her dead mother. When Linda agrees to allow Emanuel to babysit her child, her interests are shattered when she discovered that the "baby" is actually a doll, and Emanuel believes Linda is mentally disturbed. But as Linda and Emanuel develop a friendship, Emanuel tries to hide the fact that Linda's "baby" is really a doll from others by not letting people near the "baby." But that task becomes increasingly harder when her best friend/co-worker Author from the medical supply store befriends Linda and agrees to substitute for Emanuel, who cannot otherwise babysit the "baby" named Chloe because she's going out on a date with Claude as a way to escape the creepiness of babysitting a doll. But as Emanuel gets desperate to not let Author find out about Linda and Chloe, Emanuel goes off to Linda's house and treats Claude rather harshly, thinking he's following her everywhere and everywhere she goes, he's there.

Emanuel begs for Arthur not to go upstairs to see the baby but after Linda calls him up once again, he heads upstairs and notices the baby is not real. Assuming that Emanuel must have replaced Linda's real baby with a phony one, they call Emanuel several times and ask her where Chloe is. After she tells them Chloe is in her crib, Arthur shows her that the Chloe that is in the crib is a doll, not a real baby, and demands to know where Linda's baby is. Emanuel begins to have an emotional meltdown as she takes the doll, resulting in her fainting. As she faints, she has a vision in which she holds tightly onto Chloe, who springs to life once Linda is nearby and as the baby swims in her mother's direction, Emanuel swims away until she awakens in a hospital room with her father and a police officer present. When the officer asks Emanuel about the circumstances regarding the baby's disappearance, she claims the baby drowned to death but because Chloe's autopsy is inconclusive, Emanuel is not tied to the death of the baby and is never arrested. Linda however is held in a mental institution, where she can only be visited by family.

Emanuel later asks her father for permission to go see Linda, but only for him to harshly tell her to end her obsession with Linda because she it's nothing like her mother.

Going against her father's bitter advice, Emanuel breaks into Linda's house and steals the doll. She then, with Claude's help, sneaks into the psychiatric hospital where Linda is being held and sneaks into Linda's room, where she tells her that her baby died from drowning, as Emanuel saw in her vision. Emanuel then sneaks Linda out of the hospital and brings her to the cemetery where her (Emanuel's) mother had been buried. Because of how ironic it is that Linda's daughter is dead, and physically never was alive, and that Emanuel's mother died giving birth to her, Emanuel tearfully digs a makeshift grave over her mother's tomb and buries Chloe in it. The movie ends with the two women laying in the dirt, watching the stars in the night sky.




Rooney Mara was set to play the title character, Emanuel, before Kaya Scodelario replaced her as the lead.[4]


Filming took place in Los Angeles, California, between 23 January 2012 and 26 February 2012.


"The Truth About Emanuel" premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013. The film was also shown at the Ashland Independent Film Festival in April 2013, the 2013 Bend Film Festival, in November at the Denver Film Festival, and in several other film festivals in US, UK and Brazil. The film was released in US theaters on January 10, 2014 and will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on March 25, 2014.


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 40% of critics gave the film a positive review with an average score of 5.7 out of 10 based on five reviews.[5]


Writer, director and producer Francesca Gregorini earned a nomination at the Sundance Film Festival for 2013 Grand Jury Prize – Dramatic.[6]

Francesca Gregorini also earned the Best Feature Director prize at the 2013 L.A. Femme Film Festival.

The film earned awards at the 2013 Ashland Independent Film Festival and 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Chitwood, Adam (29 November 2012). "Sundance 2013: First Images from EMANUEL AND THE TRUTH ABOUT FISHES, FRUITVALE, IN A WORLD, and MAY IN THE SUMMER". Collider. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Chitwood, Adam (28 November 2012). "2013 Sundance Film Festival Announces Lineups for U.S. and World Competitions and NEXT Sections". Collider. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Sneider, Jeff (13 December 2011). "Kaya Scodelario has 'Fishes' to fry". Variety. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes | Festival Program". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 

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