Sitting in the 9am screening of Francesca Gregorini’s Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes, I was surrounded by sleepy film fans and people uncertain of what to expect from what they were about to see. Myself, I had taken an interest in Gregorini’s film as soon as I saw the synopsis hit the Sundance web page late last year. I then watched the interview with her on the Sundance YouTube channel and became increasingly eager to see her story.
Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes was an incredible artistic, poignant and heartfelt tale drawing upon Gregorini’s personal issues about loss, guilt and pain whilst focusing on the courage to overcome individual trauma. The narrative also highlights the strong emotional connection humans can hold for each other, and in Emanuel’s case (portrayed by Kaya Scodelario), the effects on a troubled child longing to find a mother figure in her life.
Emanuel meets Linda (Jessica Biel), the mysterious lady who moves in next door, she is a new mother it would seem and Emanuel is instantly intrigued by this woman. Their relationship grows when Emanuel volunteers to babysit Linda’s newborn baby, and develop an affectionate bond towards each other.
Kaya Scodelario is the heart of this story, her emotion is so unbelievably real throughout the entire film – if not lead astray by Hollywood, her career will only continue to progress and her performances, excel. Many closed-minded men may disagree as the film was extremely feminine and focused on trauma only women can really relate to. Others that may focus more on dialogue could find faults within the screenplay as some criticized it as being very “written after attending a screenwriting seminar” feel. However, Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes is overall a fantastic achievement for Francesca Gregorini and an absolute pleasure to watch.