70

Village Voice

By Chris Packham
Despite the psychological extremes, writer-director Francesca Gregorini presents her characters as recognizably human balls of complexity, nudging but never forcing them toward a sad, beautiful conclusion.
Full Review
60

NPR

By Ella Taylor
Despite some very welcome black comedy — Jimmi Simpson appears delightfully, but too briefly, as a passive-aggressive co-worker who threatens to unravel the cocoon of delusion in which Emanuel has wrapped herself — the movie, trapped in the weeds of self-pity and skin-deep badassery, never quite earns the sympathy it so strenuously solicits.
Full Review
60

The Hollywood Reporter

By Justin Lowe
Although Gregorini is very clear on where her lead characters are coming from, it’s where they’re headed that remains entirely vague, an oversight that leaves them unfortunately adrift.
Full Review
50

The Dissolve

By Mike D'Angelo
With a radically different tone and less naturalistic performances, The Truth About Emanuel might conceivably have worked. Gregorini didn’t commit to the synthetic; paradoxically, that’s what makes the film feel false.
Full Review
50

Movie Nation

By Roger Moore
They waste this cast and these characters on a story so conventional, so neatly wrapped up in the finale, that the real mystery is how Gregorini and co-writer Sarah Thorpe didn’t see that.
Full Review
50

Salon.com

By Andrew O'Hehir
The film has an odd and striking energy, and the chemistry between Scodelario and Biel has an electrical charge to it. There are a couple of genuinely creepy moments, and Gregorini keeps us on an emotional knife edge.
Full Review
42

The A.V. Club

By Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Unable to create emotional tension, it instead opts for obliqueness — which can be tantalizing, but only if there’s something worthwhile hidden underneath. In this case, there isn’t. Instead, the movie comes across as evasive, repetitive, and, eventually, more than a little dull.
Full Review
42

The Playlist

By Cory Everett
There are shades of “Lars & the Real Girl” here, but where that film skewed towards dark comedy (which helped temper its outlandish premise), "Emanuel" is almost completely humorless.
Full Review
40

New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Weitzman
The most startling truth is about Emanuel is that she's a rather ordinary teen in a rather ordinary movie.
Full Review
40

Variety

By Dennis Harvey
Played flatly head-on with some poetic pretensions, the concept never becomes particularly credible or appealing.
Full Review
40 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.