It's highly doubtful that you'll grasp even a little of The Truth About Emanuel after seeing this film. It's not so much a thriller as it is a ride on a runaway crazy train.
Emanuel (Kaya Scodelario of TV's Skins) is a precurdled 17-year-old, guarded and cynical. Her comments, both in conversation and in voiceover, are marked by a sexual candor that would make Freud blush.
She gets rattled and intrigued by Linda, the hippie-ish single mom (Jessica Biel of Total Recall) who moves in next door. Before you can say "transference," Emanuel is caught up in defending and perpetuating Linda's overriding delusion.
Actually, all the characters (the cast includes Alfred Molina, Frances O'Connor, and Jimmi Simpson) tread in murky psychological waters. That makes Claude (Elijah Wood act-alike Aneurin Barnard), the boy Emanuel is flirting with, stand out by virtue of his normalcy.
The soundtrack is, extraneously, French, one of the glaring pretensions in this gratuitously artsy film. And so The Truth About Emanuel sways along, slowly and strangely, to its star-gazing denouement.
The Truth About Emanuel *1/2 (out of four stars)
Directed by Francesca Gregorini. With Kaya Scodelario, Jessica Biel, Alfred Molina, Aneurin Barnard, and Frances O'Connor. Distributed by Tribeca Film.
Running time: 1 hour,
Parent's guide: Not rated (profanity, adult themes)
Playing at: AMC Cherry Hill 24