‘Emily the Criminal’ | Sundance 2022 Review

Directed By:

John Patton Ford

Written By:

John Patton Ford


Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gina Gershon


Action, Drama, Thriller

Emily (Aubrey Plaza) is saddled with student debt and because of her criminal record, can’t find sustainable work. Frantic for income, she takes a potential job as a “dummy shopper,” buying goods with stolen credit cards supplied by a middleman. After a couple of successful attempts by Emily, with the help of Youcef (Theo Rossi), Emily finds herself wanting to live the world of a scammer, but will karma catch up to her before she can make an escape?

Aubrey Plaza continues to take on challenging roles that put her in unique situations and out of being type cast. In this we see a similarity to Jake Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom from Nightcrawler. Someone desperate for financial relief with just enough wrong to make them do dangerous things. Emily is immediately in over her head in this world, and barely escapes some jobs with her life let a lot any sort of loot. But it’s the drive of success and that rush of being good at something that makes her continue down the path.

Youcef is immediately taken by Emily and essentially mentors her into becoming great at the job. They two have similar goals of wanting to be free and hope that pulling jobs can buy their way out. I liked the chemistry between Plaza and Rossi, it’s an unlikely pairing that worked great in the story and the actors delivered raw performances.

Overall, I liked the tone, the story was suspenseful, and the actors brilliant. Some moments can feel a little rushed, but overall this is also one out of Sundance that I’d recommend people check out. Watch my interview below with the director about how he made it, and how the chemistry first went with both his actors.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

Leave a Reply