DIR/WRI: Simon Fitzmaurice • PRO: Kathryn Kennedy, Rebecka Lafrenz, Lesley McKimm • DOP: Seamus Deasy • ED: Emer Reynolds • DES: John Hand • MUS: Stephen McKeon • CAST: Evanna Lynch, Martin McCann, Michael Smiley, George Webster
Crashing in a tumble of water. As an army of bubbles pulse to the surface. Eyes wide open, dead set, staring up at the ceiling. Straight up into space. Emily’s submerged in a bathtub. Her fair hair floating in a ghostly web, framing her pale face. Under the surface, Emily reflects on her fractured experience of life up to that point, in an intoxicating jigsaw of images and memories. Childhood with her father. Her unconventional upbringing, feet running on the sandy beach with her Father and Mother. Ditching school. Travelling with her makeshift hippie philosopher father. Her father’s monkish silence. His distance before she was even born. How the bursting colour of her birth ignited her father’s richly optimistic perspective. Gave him a new lease on life, opened up his eyes. Broadened his horizons. He began lecturing, writing, helping others try live happier, richer, more meaningful lives. Giving hokey well-meant new age advice on happiness and sex, leading the charge with an army of naked middle-aged arses straight into the icy sea. Charging straight to international celebrity, fronting seminars, all over the world promoting his unorthodox philosophy. And the shattering depression, that took hold of her father after her Mother’s Death. But he kept rocking the boat of acceptability, pushing the bar, further and further trying to soldier on. Until his own mental health was brought into question.
Right off the bat, writer/director Simon Fitzmaurice masterfully invites us inside Emily’s head, and sets up an unquestionably potent relationship with her and the audience. She bursts through the surface gasping for air and into the suffocating present.
Presently, Emily’s in foster care, her father’s been institutionalized for years. It’s her sixteenth birthday and his card hasn’t arrived. He always sends a card. Emily’s cagey about this, but when she finally freaks, she coaxes her eager beaver would be boyfriend (George Webster) into skipping class, and setting off in a goofy yellow car on a coming of age odyssey, to the find her father up north.
Evanna Lynch’s central performance brings an unflinching volatility to Emily, that’s magnetic to look at. New kid on the street, George Webster, shows some serious acting chops, proving he’s more than just a one direction look alike, his genuine sense of naivety gives endless warmth and charm. And the inimitable Michael Smiley radiates true genius as he gravitates from comic to tragic in the blink of an eye.
In My Name is Emily, Irish director Simon Fitzmaurice lovingly creates a deeply personal film about challenging the boundaries of reality. Fitzmaurice himself suffers from MND, which is an aggressive physically disabling disease. So it’s easy to understand why he might be totally invested in this theme. This is a film about opening the doors of perception, striving for something more, about thinking, and possibly living outside the box, in an effort to appreciate the important things in our lives. The people around us, those that we love and care for. Everything else, is just needless material baggage.
Fitzmaurice’s strong visual palate harvests the senses, seen first-hand through Seamus Deasy’s evocative cinematography. This sensory enlightenment is further cultivated by the textured musical soundtrack, which includes real gems from James Vincent McMorrow, Lisa Hannigan, Cat Dowling, Liza Flume, Hudson Taylor, Lisa Mitchell, Printer Clips and Jake Bugg.
12A (See IFCO for details)
Sing Street is released 8th April 2016