Emily the Criminal is a 2022 American crime thriller film written and directed in feature film debut by John Patton Ford. Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, and Gina Gershon star in it.
Vertical Entertainment and Roadside Attractions released it in the United States on August 12, 2022, following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2022.
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Critics overwhelmingly praised it for its social commentary and Plaza's performance.
Emily the Criminal Plot Synopsis
We meet our protagonist, Emily (Plaza), in the middle of a job interview. In a masterfully efficient opening scene, we learn that she 1) needs money to pay off her large student loans, 2) has an assault charge on her record, and 3) has a temper.
Emily's part-time job at a catering company isn't cutting it, so when a coworker mentions a quick $200 as a “dummy shopper,” she jumps at the chance.
Emily learns that being a dummy shopper entails purchasing a flat-screen TV with a stolen credit card. This first job is a success. Emily purchases a television delivers it to the criminal organization running the scam and collects $200. When Youcef (Theo Rossi), one of the scam's leaders, invites her to do another, larger job the next day, she accepts.
She has to buy a car with a stolen credit card this time. Youcef warns her that she has only eight minutes after the car dealer runs her credit card before the bank contacts the card's owner. She has only eight minutes to get away. Emily almost doesn't make it, but after a physical altercation with the dealer, she barely escapes with the car.
Youcef, who is feeling guilty about the botched job, assists Emily in tending to her wounds following the altercation. Emily is an aspiring artist, and Youcef aspires to own his own rental properties. Emily persuades Youcef to let her in on the scam further.
He teaches her how to make her own fake credit cards using stolen numbers. He also establishes ground rules, such as never purchasing from the same store twice and never meeting customers at your home.
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After Emily persuades Youcef to confront his cousin Khalil (Jonathan Avigdori) about clearing out the fraud ring's funds and emptying their shared business account, Youcef is attacked and injured.
Congrats to @evilhag on her #GothamAwards2022 nomination. pic.twitter.com/xPUik2jOMy
— Emily The Criminal Movie (@emily_criminal) October 25, 2022
Khalil attempts to murder Emily, but she manages to stab him while pinned on the floor. Khalil denies stealing money from the accounts as she threatens him.
Emily presses further, prompting Khalil to inform her that there is some cash in the fridge (it is unclear whether this is the cash he may have stolen from Youcef).
Emily takes the cash bag and departs with an injured Youcef who is bleeding from his wound. Emily panics when she hears police sirens while sitting in his car, unable to find the keys, and decides to take the cash and leave Youcef behind.
The next day, police raid her apartment, only to discover she has vanished. It is unknown if Youcef or Khalil survived.
Emily the Criminal Ending Explained
Emily and Youcef devise a strategy to confront Khalil at his safehouse, where he is surrounded by other fraud ring members. The strategy fails. Khalil assaults Youcef, causing serious head injuries.
Emily uses a box cutter to restrain Khalil and force him to tell her where the money is. Emily flees with the money and assists Youcef in getting into his car. But, despite the fact that he is still alive, he is too drunk to tell her where the keys are. Emily hears police approaching and grabbing the money before fleeing, leaving Youcef unconscious in the car.
We cut to a shot of the cops breaking into Emily's house—but Emily is nowhere to be found. She's having the time of her life in an unspecified South American country. In the final scene, Emily delivers the same fraud ring spiel she first heard from Youcef, but in Spanish.
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It is implied that she has begun a new life in South America as the leader of a new fraud ring and will never return to her previous life. Emily the criminal she truly is!