Day #198: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Synopsis:

[From IMDb:] A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

My take:

I cannot believe that I never realised Emily Rose was played by the same actor as my favourite character in Dexter. It doesn’t surprise me though, considering she does a brilliant job in both cases; but there’s something in particular about her embodied performance in The Exorcism of Emily Rose that stands out, because it’s freakin’ amazing to see the way that she contorts herself into all sorts of unnatural shapes. You can tell that she’s not holding anything back.

I like the fact that this movie takes the courtroom trial approach to telling its story. Obviously this happens because of the case that the movie’s meant to be based on, but it allows for a contrast between the horror of what happens to Emily (Jennifer Carpenter, in case you’re unaware) and the more mundane experiences of the trial, where the debate between faith and science is able to play out. It also provides a credible method of delivering the exposition that fleshes out Emily’s story, while broadening the context of what you’d expect from a movie about demonic possession. It was a neat little trick.

While I think the casting of the movie was generally great, it did bug me a bit that Shohreh Aghdashloo was cast as the ‘exotic’ spiritualist, Dr. Adani. Whatever you think of the point her character was making (and the broader discussion), to give the part of a character whose credibility was always going to be in question to (I believe) the only actor of colour who had a speaking role in the entire movie smacked to me of negative racial stereotyping, conscious or otherwise.

That one sour note aside, I do actually think that The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a pretty good movie. Sure, it might not have the faster pace that people expect from a demonic possession movie, but it brings some depth to the genre. I’m down with that.

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