Gender Roles – Women
Gender Roles – Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Gender Roles - Women: 5 Stars (Spoilers)
Erin Brunner is a clever attorney who isn't afraid to ask for the recognition she deserves. Over the course of the film, she proves herself to be unafraid of confrontation and confident in her own abilities. She is far more analytical than emotional, but still has enough heart to be relatable and human. She initially focuses only on facts and strategy, divorcing herself from her client's guilt or innocence - but by the end of the film, she cares enough about her client's fate to ignore her boss's warnings, and take a bold chance that earns a pious man his freedom.
Gender Roles - Men: 4 Stars
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is one of only a few films that looks to a non-violent, chaste man as its savior and moral compass. Father Moore, like any devout priest, puts the needs of others before his own. He has the humility to understand that he has little power on this earth, that he’s at the mercy of the supernatural forces that surround us and that all his strength comes from God. Father Moore isn’t able to save Emily’s life, but he’s willing to sacrifice his freedom to tell her story and to reveal the truth as he sees it, about God and the devil.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 4.5 Stars
Erin Brunner has a classic and empowered sense of style. She dresses in smart suits and cultivates the image of an attractive and professional woman. She’s also a more mature woman, not absurdly young and fresh out of law school, but practiced and experienced. She’s not tangled up in an unhappy marriage or otherwise portrayed in a way that makes her career-driven life seem sad or pitiable. To the contrary, her dedication to her profession is both inspiring and full of meaning.
Plot: 3 Stars
Unlike most exorcism films, the devil has already come and gone by the time Erin Brunner shows up. She isn't expected to go to battle with demons, but to sort out the aftermath in a court of law. She shines in the courtroom by challenging a jury that relies on common sense and reasoning to believe in the possibility of angels and demons. She does a brilliant job of exposing the uncertainties in our science, and of reminding us that our knowledge of human anatomy and physiology is far from complete or foolproof. Erin is smart enough to realize that she doesn't have to prove the supernatural realm exists. All she has to do is indulge their curiosity enough to raise a reasonable doubt. To give them permission to fill in the gaps in our medical knowledge with faith, and to recognize that there are certain junctures where faith and science not only co-exist, but compliment one another.
Character Development: 4.5 Stars
When the film opens, Erin is primarily concerned with winning cases and exalting her reputation. But as the story progresses, she seems more concerned with protecting Father Moore than her own career. It’s unfortunate that Erin doesn’t have a confidant or some other avenue to tell us whether she considers Father Moore responsible for Emily’s death, or if she’s starting to believe the seemingly illogical arguments she presents at trial. It is clear, however, that at some point Erin begins to feel a deeper, spiritual connection than she had before the trial. She also learns the hard way that defending terrible men to further her own glory has its consequences. We aren’t told what Erin plans to do with herself once the case is over, but it’s easy to envision her putting her talents towards a larger social good. And whether she truly believes in Father Moore’s innocence or not, her experience defending him has changed her for the better.
Supporting Characters: 4 Stars
Erin Brunner is not the only impressive female character in the Exorcism of Emily Rose. Emily herself, although she is incapacitated for a large part of the film, makes a startling sacrifice near the end of her life which exposes the depth of her faith, and shows us that she is willing to endure her severe torment for what she believes to be the salvation of others. Whether you subscribe to Emily’s faith or not, her bravery and selflessness demands a certain level of respect.
In addition to Erin and Emily, the film also includes a Harvard educated professor who testifies on the scientific nature of spiritual experiences. This remarkable woman recognizes the prevalence of unexplained phenomena that occur all around the world, boldly suggesting that Western medicine and Western science are overlooking something powerful and sublime by focusing only on understood biological responses - and ignoring the role that spirituality plays on our physiology.
Room for Improvement:
A Catholic Priest, Father Richard Moore, is charged with negligent homicide in the brutal death of 19 year old Emily Rose. An ambitious defense attorney, Erin Brunner, is assigned to defend him. Over the course of the trial, witnesses describe the strange events surrounding Emily’s affliction. The prosecution presents mounting evidence that Emily was suffering from epilepsy and psychosis, requiring significant medical attention, while Erin is forced to decide between her career and presenting a courageous defense of a man who truly believed that Emily Rose was possessed by demons.
Kelly is a labor law