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To deploy an earned cliche: Emily, Australian actress Frances O’Connor’s expertly well-rounded directorial debut, is arriving at just the right time. With full-throated earnestness and charged romanticism, the period drama, out now in theaters, offers a window into the brief adult life of Emily Brontë, author of the iconic romance novel Wuthering Heights.
Emily is a biopic that takes healthy liberties with history, but much like the surrealist Princess Diana movie Spencer, it exudes poetic love for the mercurial woman at its center—played here by a mesmerizing Emma Mackey. Unlike Spencer, however, Emily is a lot of fun to watch.
“I read Wuthering Heights when I was about 15,” O’Connor tells The Daily Beast. “I read it on a school bus and it was about a half-hour journey, and by the time I got off the bus I really felt like I’d been somewhere.