Emily (2022 film)

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Emily (2022 film) poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Frances O'Connor
Written byFrances O'Connor
Produced by
CinematographyNanu Segal
Edited bySam Sneade
Music by Abel Korzeniowski
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 9 September 2022 (2022-09-09)(TIFF)
  • 14 October 2022 (2022-10-14)(United Kingdom)
Running time
130 minutes [1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Emily is a 2022 biographical drama film written and directed by Frances O'Connor in her directorial debut. It depicts a fictionalized version of the life of English writer Emily Brontë, portrayed by Emma Mackey and concentrating on her romantic relationship with the curate William Weightman (of which there is no evidence such a relationship ever occurred). Fionn Whitehead, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Alexandra Dowling, Amelia Gething, Adrian Dunbar and Gemma Jones also appear in supporting roles.


Emily premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival before being theatrically released in the United Kingdom by Warner Bros. Pictures on 14 October 2022, and in the United States by Bleecker Street in 2023.


As Emily Brontë is ill and near death her older sister Charlotte asks her what inspired her to write her novel Wuthering Heights .

Sometime in the past Charlotte, nearly graduated from school, returns home for a visit. Emily tries to talk to her about the fictional worlds she has been creating while Charlotte was at school, but Charlotte tries to dissuade her from these juvenile activities.

At the same time William Weightman, a new curate, arrives. While her sisters and several other young women seem enamoured of the young man Emily is dismissive of him. While visiting the Brontë home, Weightman partakes in a game the Brontës have invented where they take turns donning a mask and impersonating a character with the other members guessing who the character is. When it is Emily's turn she claims to be possessed by the ghost of their deceased mother. Charlotte, Anne and Branwell become distressed while Weightman is disturbed by the scene.

Emily goes with Charlotte to her school to learn to be a teacher while her brother Branwell goes to study at the Royal Academy of Arts. Both Emily and Branwell return shortly after as failures, Branwell proclaiming he is now more interested in writing and Emily at a loss for what to do.

Emily's father engages Weightman to teach Emily French which he does while arguing religious philosophy with her. In the mean time Branwell encourages Emily to drink and play, their favourite pastime involving staring in the window of a local family and scaring them at night. They are eventually caught and when Emily denies her involvement Branwell is sent to work for the family as a tutor as punishment. Branwell is caught kissing the mistress of the house and is sent elsewhere in disgrace.

Meanwhile Emily and Weightman grow increasingly close and begin a romantic entanglement.

When Charlotte returns home and begins to suspect an affinity between the two Weightman abruptly ends their relationship. Emily is devastated and takes out her anger on Branwell, telling him that his attempts at fiction are clichéd and trite. In order to move on with her life Emily decides to leave with Charlotte for Brussels. She tells Weightman she no longer intends to write. Weightman writes Emily a letter urging her to change her mind, which he gives to Branwell. However Branwell reads its contents and does not pass on the message.

In Brussels Emily has a vision of Weightman and shortly after receives news that he died. The sisters return home to tend to an ailing Branwell. His final act before dying is to give Emily Weightman's letter in which he urges her to continue to write. In the aftermath of Branwell's death Emily writes Wuthering Heights .

Now on her death bed Emily confesses to Charlotte that she was in love with Weightman and asks Charlotte to burn the love letters between the two after she dies. Charlotte does so and begins to write her own works.



The film was announced in May 2020 with Emma Mackey cast in the titular role, with Joe Alwyn, Fionn Whitehead and Emily Beecham being cast as people in Emily’s life. Frances O'Connor was set to write and direct the film. [2] Both Alwyn and Beecham left the project prior to the start of filming in April 2021, with Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Alexandra Dowling, Amelia Gething, Gemma Jones and Adrian Dunbar joining the cast. Filming began in Yorkshire on 16 April 2021 and concluded on 26 May. [3]

Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the UK distribution rights to the film. [4]


Emily had its world premiere in the Platform Prize lineup at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2022. [5] In May 2022, it was announced that Bleecker Street has acquired the US distribution rights for the film, with a release year of 2023.


After its premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, the film received a score of 100% on Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. [6]

In his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw describes the film as "beautifully acted, lovingly shot, fervently and speculatively imagined". [7] Mark Kermode describes Emily as a "full-blooded gothic fable", praising O’Connor's "spine-tingling feature debut". [8]

Writing for The Playlist, Jason Bailey said: "With Emily, actor-turned-director Frances O’Connor has crafted a first film that feels like the work of an accomplished master". [9] Particular praise was also given for the main cast's performances, with Lovia Gyarkye writing "Mackey commands the screen, confidently shepherding us through Emily’s mercurial moods" for The Hollywood Reporter . [10]

The film received three awards at the Dinard British Film Festival: Golden Hitchcock, Best Performance Award for Emma Mackey and Audience Award. [11]


AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef.
British Independent Film Awards 4 December 2022 Best Lead Performance Emma Mackey Pending [12]
Best Supporting Performance Fionn Whitehead Pending
Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) Frances O'Connor Pending
Best Ensemble Performance Amelia Gething, Emma Mackey, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Fionn Whitehead, Alexandra Dowling, Gemma Jones, Adrian Dunbar Pending

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  2. "Hot Cannes Package: Emma Mackey To Lead Cast As 'Wuthering Heights' Author Emily Bronte In Fresh-Faced Biopic From 'Harry Potter' Producer & Embankment". 21 May 2020. Archived from the original on 21 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  3. "Film and TV Projects Going Into Production – Emily". Variety Insight . Archived from the original on 9 May 2021. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  4. Wiseman, Andreas (28 April 2021). "'Emily': First Look At Emma Mackey As 'Wuthering Heights' Author Emily Bronte, Movie Sells To Key Markets & Rounds Out Cast". Deadline Hollywood . Archived from the original on 28 April 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  5. "TIFF Unveils Platform Lineup: New Films from 'Cuties' Director, Frances O'Connor, and More". IndieWire. 3 August 2022. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  6. "Sex Education star's new movie lands 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating". Digital Spy. 12 September 2022. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  7. "Emily review – love, passion and sex in impressive Brontë biopic". the Guardian. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  8. "Emily review – the wildest Brontë sister is set free in full-blooded gothic fable". the Guardian. 16 October 2022. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  9. "'Emily' Review: A Dazzling Debut from Actor-Turned-Director Frances O'Connor [TIFF]". theplaylist.net. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  10. Gyarkye, Lovia (10 September 2022). "'Emily' Review: Emma Mackey Excels as Emily Brontë in Speculative Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  11. Delcroix, Olivier (1 October 2022). "Emily de Frances O'Connor triomphe au 33e festival du film britannique de Dinard". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  12. Ntim, Zac (4 November 2022). "British Independent Film Awards: 'Aftersun,' 'Blue Jean' & 'The Wonder' Lead Nominations". Deadline . Retrieved 4 November 2022.