Trying to put a personal spin on films can sometimes be more than a little difficult, especially when you consider how to do it and to make it so that's not entirely introspective. There has to be a story that people can follow and enough information join the dots from one side to the other. With My Name Is Emily, director Simon Fitzmaurice gives an incredibly personal look into his world whilst also opening up the possibilities of what you can do with a narrative structure.
Emily (Evanna Lynch) is a young, precocious woman who's about to turn sixteen. When her institutionalised father fails to send her a card - despite the fact he sends her one every year - Emily gets it into her head to leave her stuffy school and travel away to find him and find out what happened. In doing so, she ropes her in her sheepish-but-eager boyfriend Arden (George Webster) to take off with him in their crappy Renault R4 that just pops out of the screen in bright yellow. The film then shifts gears into a road-trip movie that's equal parts perplexing, sweet and romantic and a little bit bittersweet.
The film's centralises on Evanna Lynch's performance, who is perfect as the off-kilter yet brilliantly insightful young woman whilst the interplay between herself and George Webster feels genuine. The dialogue throughout the film, however, doesn't exactly have a huge amount of punch to it, but the meaning and the intent behind it is. Boundlessly optimistic, her smile just lights up the screen and it becomes infectious. You can't help but smile as you watch My Name Is Emily and that's pretty tough to do, considering the weighty subject matter behind it all.
Simon Fitzmaurice gives a visual bent to the film unlike anything other. It's almost as if he's trying to force all the colour and beauty of the world into the lens and, in a way, it becomes a little overbearing in places. However, it works in the context of the film. It's easily one of the prettiest films you'll see this year, both in a visual sense and in the story itself. As well as a cracking soundtrack featuring the likes of James Vincent McMorrow and Cat Dowling, My Name Is Emily is a charming, sweet little film.