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Chile · 2019
Rated R · 1h 47m
Director Pablo Larraín
Starring Mariana Di Girolamo, Gael García Bernal, Santiago Cabrera, Paola Giannini
Genre Drama

Ema, a young dancer, and her husband Gaston, a choreographer, return their adoptive son to child services after the boy causes a fiery incident. The painful decision torments Ema, whose guilt brings her marriage to the breaking point while she struggles to let go. To reunite her family, Ema will do all it takes.

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What are people saying?

Ricardo Rico Profile picture for Ricardo Rico

This is a really great looking film. The colors are saturated and the cinematography capturing the mountainous but urban Chile is great. The dance scenes feel like music videos, but still feel cohesive with the plot and drama.

What are critics saying?


TheWrap by Ben Croll

Larraín’s odd little film dances to the beat of its own drum, that’s for certain. But it does pay off in a wholly satisfying way.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Ema doesn’t always dance to a clear or recognizable beat, but anybody willing to get on its wavelength will be rewarded with one of the year’s most dynamic and electrifying films.


The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

A work of self-conscious experimentalism that's too stilted and distancing to invite involvement, it gets some mileage out of the pulsating rhythms of reggaetón street dance but otherwise is so fragmented it lacks forward motion.


Slant Magazine by Jake Cole

In the film, the literal union of bodies is the only logical means of conveying the reestablishment of emotional bonds.


Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

At once a visually expressionistic hymn to female agency and liberation, a psychological thriller that always stays one step ahead of the viewer and a flamboyant reggaeton dance musical, Ema will strike some as a heady celebration of a movie, while leaving others bemused by stylistics that sometimes overpower narrative and psychological plausibility.


Variety by Owen Gleiberman

What’s novel about Ema is that Pablo Larraín has made a movie that, in its form, is every bit as warped and jagged and jarring and difficult to cuddle up to as its heroine.


The Guardian by Xan Brooks

While I confess that I found Ema to be a notch down on his best work, it’s still hugely distinctive and daring and may well be a grower.

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