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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose

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Judy Thorburn

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“ THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE” – POSSESSED BY DEMONS OR THE BELIEF IN THEM

Based on its title and the ad campaign audiences probably are expecting another movie like William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, probably the best and scariest movie ever made about demon possession. In its initial release in 1973 audiences who saw the Academy Award nominated movie were so frightened by the film, reactions ranging from fainting to heart attacks caused a warning to be issued for pregnant women and others with heart conditions to stay away. That was much exaggerated.  Nevertheless, it did scare the pants off millions of viewers (including my date at the time, but not me).

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Mary Beth Hurt, Shoheh Aghdashloo, Joshua Close, Henry Czerny, Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Gary Lucchesi, Beau Flynn, Tom Rosenberg

Sorry, but if you are looking for that kind of scare fest, you are in for a disappointment, because The Exorcism of Emily Rose is more a courtroom drama than horror flick. That isn’t to say there aren’t the requisite scary moments.  But, forget the green pea soup vomit or head spinning. It’s more about exploring faith, as in beliefs versus facts, and specifically in this instance, the science of medicine versus the unexplainable in the spiritual realm.

The argument is set forth in a courtroom where a priest is on trial for negligent homicide after a failed exorcism he performed on Emily ultimately led to her death.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Mary Beth Hurt, Shoheh Aghdashloo, Joshua Close, Henry Czerny, Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Gary Lucchesi, Beau Flynn, Tom Rosenberg

The film is based on a true story and events that took place in 1978 surrounding the so-called demonic possession of a young German girl named Anneliese Michel, here renamed Emily. But, without a doubt this movie is a heavily fictionalized version.

It starts off with Emily’s death and subsequent arrest of the priest, Father Moore (believably played by Tom Wilkinson) who performed the ritual. Laura Linney (in a splendid multi layered performance) is his defense attorney Erin Bruner, a rising star eager to be senior partner in the law firm that represents the Catholic Archdiocese. Since most of the proceedings take place in the courtroom, Emily’s story is told in flashbacks from the trial testimony.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Mary Beth Hurt, Shoheh Aghdashloo, Joshua Close, Henry Czerny, Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Gary Lucchesi, Beau Flynn, Tom Rosenberg

As an innocent, fresh faced 19-year-old, Emily left home to go off to college. Suddenly, one night in her dorm strange things start happening, as if unseen forces are taking hold of Emily’s body and mind. Soon after, she begins to see frightening visions of ghouls in the faces of her fellow students and people on the street. Unable to stay in school, Emily is diagnosed as an epileptic with psychotic episodes and put on the drug Gambutrol to control her condition. But when Emily’s parents summon their church pastor, Father Moore, he is convinced she is a victim of demonic possession, and not an epileptic. Emily’s medication is stopped and told her only cure is an exorcism. Well, we

know the horrifying outcome.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Mary Beth Hurt, Shoheh Aghdashloo, Joshua Close, Henry Czerny, Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Gary Lucchesi, Beau Flynn, Tom Rosenberg

Father Moore refuses to accept a plea bargain and so the court fight begins with the prosecutor, devout Catholic Ethan Thomas, (Campbell Scott, in great form) claiming that Father Moore was responsible for Emily’s death, when he abandoned Emily’s medical treatment, which could have controlled her condition.

Bruner, an agnostic, begins to question her beliefs when strange things start to happen around her personally. She decides to use demonic possession, as in the old “devil made me do it” excuse, as the defense tactic letting the priest tell Emily’s story, as he experienced it first hand.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Mary Beth Hurt, Shoheh Aghdashloo, Joshua Close, Henry Czerny, Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Gary Lucchesi, Beau Flynn, Tom Rosenberg

Director Scott Derrickson utilizes flashback scenes that clearly make it appear as if Emily was possessed, using supernatural occurrences to validate her claim. He cloaks the outdoor atmosphere with lots of rain; presents us with indoor creaky floors, dimly lit hallways, objects that move on their own, cats, snakes, and other horror movie clichés, which add to the suspense. There is also talk about the witching hour that “true believers” will mostly likely buy into.

Newcomer Jennifer Carpenter, as Emily, spends must of her time in this physically demanding role contorting her body, creating gruesome facial expressions and making bloodcurdling screams, which she does great. Unfortunately, all we know about Emily is that she was religious and hypersensitive which, if you are convinced, made her “vulnerable” to possession.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Mary Beth Hurt, Shoheh Aghdashloo, Joshua Close, Henry Czerny, Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Gary Lucchesi, Beau Flynn, Tom Rosenberg

But, what about the evidence admitted in court?  Can real tangible facts, proof that can be corroborated, be totally dismissed by logical, intelligent people, and replaced by religious beliefs that cannot be substantiated.  It seems so. I am always disturbed by the unwavering pious who refuse to accept what is real.

We, as viewers, are asked to consider the possibilities of unknown demonic forces attacking and invading innocent bodies to the extent of murder. Never mind the overwhelming evidence supporting the FACT that Emily had a sickness and self inflicted injuries.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Mary Beth Hurt, Shoheh Aghdashloo, Joshua Close, Henry Czerny, Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman, Gary Lucchesi, Beau Flynn, Tom Rosenberg

I am especially curious why non-believers are never possessed by demons? Isn’t it odd that only devout Catholics in our society are the vulnerable ones ever in need of an exorcism? I say consider THAT, if you will. Belief MUST be the necessary factor. Hmmm.

Yet, I recommend The Exorcism of Emily Rose as an intriguing, well-executed courtroom drama highlighted by the excellent cast, and some pretty scary scenes.

As for being thought provoking, I can’t get passed one line in the movie that sums it up – “Facts don’t leave any room for possibilities”. That, I believe!

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