Review: (4.50 / 5) The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a 2005 film directed by Scott Derrickson. The courtroom drama unfolds as the defense lawyer, Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) battles the state prosecutor, Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott) while defending Catholic Priest Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson) in the death of Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter) during the exorcism rite.
The movie is loosely based on the story of Anneliese Michel, a German woman who underwent an exorcism in 1975. It’s a classic example of separation of church and state, and how jurors are forced to put their personal beliefs aside in the interest of liberty and justice.
The majority of the film takes place in the courtroom, and the story of Emily Rose is presented during flashbacks. The film received mixed reviews from critics, however for the movie enthusiast who enjoy demonic horror, Father Gary Thomas, a Catholic Exorcist from the San Jose Diocese of California, stated it is the best and closest representation to real life exorcisms. That’s a tremendous compliment, considering the movie, The Rite, is loosely based on his life story.
I thought the film was well directed. And while I’m far from an expert on exorcisms, information is easily accessible throughout the internet for those wanting to conduct research. There were a few quirks in the film I felt were inaccurate, and could have easily been changed without having a negative impact in the film. For example, Emily Rose voluntarily walks into a church and straight to the alter, and stands before the crucifix while in a demonic state. The devil also manifests itself in the rectory of the church before the priest. Furthermore, Emily’s eyes rarely, if at all, roll back during possession.
I scored the movie high, mainly because I enjoyed the way Derrickson weaved in modern day courtroom drama with demonic horror. While I knew the ending to the real story of Annelids Michel, the director did a great job with the a-ha moment with the ending at sentencing.