Emily The Criminal

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description?: No

If you follow me, you’ll see I review pretty much anything. Frequently, I review things I’m not interested in, not excited about, and could really give zero fucks about. But, I want to talk about them, and their effective, or potentially non-effective audio description. And for films without audio description, I plan on talking about whether or not there is any point to watching the film without audio description. I mention this, because i actually cared here. I actually was interested in Emily The Criminal, and from what I can tell, there is no audio description track on Netflix or VOD.

So, I had to try and figure out what the hell was going on for the duration of this film, which seems to be about an ex-felon (Aubrey Plaza) who is trying to go straight, but the world really won’t let her, so she finds a less legal route to make money. There are frequent moments of silence. Either someone is driving or walking, and we lose entire chunks of the film. in fact, the end of this film is gone.Basically, right before the end, there is sort of a major plot point that you do have sound for, and then about five minutes of background noise, city sounds, and other ambience, before Emily comes back in, speaking a line in Spanish, and then the movie ends.

There are moments where it’s hard to tell who is scared of what, and why, or how something is being done. It’s not a dialogue heavy film, and when the characters speak, it’s very nonchalant, in that it never feels the need to explain anything, like a plan before it happens, or have someone speak in depth about the experience they just had. It seemed to me like the kind of film that with audio description might have been a contender for a top 10 spot. Every indicator told me Aubrey Plaza, usually known for her comedic dryness, is bringing her dramatic range up a notch.

Aubrey, as Emily, has this monologue in the film that is incredible. She’s in an interview for what she hopes will be her dream job, until she learns it’s an unpaid internship, and what the demands are. Basically, it’s a full time job that pays nothing. Obviously, the screenwriter thinks this concept is stupid, and channels that energy through Emily, and Aubrey is the person to deliver it. It’s the kind of great moment that becomes the clip they play at the Oscar’s to highlight why someone was nominated.

But, there are just so many chunks of this film without dialogue, and while I occasionally knew what was happening, there were a lot of times I needed that audio description to help out, but it wasn’t there. Someone made a choice that this film didn’t need to be made accessible. We saved money so Netflix could make another TV show they have no intention of taking beyond it’s first season.

It’s not all Netflix’s fault. film studios, and by extension, the actual filmmakers should be concerned about how their film is consumed. If audience members aren’t getting your film the best way possible, it’s one more person walking around not recommending your title, and keeping it from being a choice for someone else. It’s easy to say someone like me is just some random blind person, but people read what I write, subscribe to my YouTube, and my friends know I’m the guy who follows film and TV. So, when i recommend things, generally those things get checked out.

I can’t recommend Emily The Criminal. Without audio description, it’s just missing too much. It’s a shame, because this one definitely felt like it was right up my alley.

Final Grade: Unwatchable

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