All Emily Benetto wants to do is create art. However, not everyone can afford the luxury of being an artist in today’s environment. So what will Emily become if she is unable to afford to become what she has always wanted to be? Her passion during her teenage years, which may have convinced her to enrol herself in a prominent college, may have had an impact on her decision to pursue art. She borrowed money from her school debts to cover the costs and was prepared to take a chance for the arts. However, a tragedy later occurred as a result of which Emily was unable to complete her education. Despite her enthusiasm for painting, she is unable to find employment as an artist because she lacks a degree. The irony of her life is that. Through the narrative of its lead character, the movie “Emily the Criminal” by John Patton Ford thematically examines these paradoxes. The story also depicts the different struggles, setbacks, and unhappiness that drive an artist to the brink and force them to make choices in life that may not be ethically right, but ultimately become vital for survival. Without further ado, let’s look at the turning point in Emily’s life where she went from being a struggling artist to becoming a criminal.
‘Emily The Criminal’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
New Jersey native Emily Benetto attended HBS to earn her arts degree. But in 2016, an unavoidable incident occurred, forcing her to leave college. One time, following an argument, she punched the boy, who then reported her to the police because they were in a relationship that was possibly toxic. Emily was found guilty of serious assault, had a sizable college loan, court costs, and a dependent grandma. Because of these factors, Emily chose to work rather than return to school in order to pay the bills. Like her childhood friend Liz, Emily had moved to Los Angeles with the hope of finding employment in the arts sector. Emily ached for the life that Liz was leading while she was an ad agency employee. Emily had one more chance to get into the profession and thought Liz would set up an interview at her company.
Emily lives in a shared apartment to save money and works as a part-time delivery person for a catering company to make ends meet in Los Angeles. She eagerly signs up for interviews at several companies, but no matter where she goes, people always question her past conviction, which hurts her chances of landing a job. As the movie opens, Emily has almost $70,000 in student loans to pay off, which motivates her to take on more odd jobs in order to pay off the debt. Javier Santos, a coworker, tells her of a job where she can work as a Dummy Shopper and earn $200 at this time of need. With some caution, Emily makes contact with these dubious customers and goes to their store, where she meets the Lebanese brothers Youcef and Khalil Haddad. Youcef, the younger brother, tells the new group of employees about their credit card fraud operation, in which the dummy customers use the fictitious credit card that Youcef has created to purchase equipment from the supermarket, which they then sell on the black market.
Emily gradually joins Youcef’s ring and begins making her own bogus credit cards, which allows her to earn a sizable sum of money that she uses to settle some of her bills. Emily, however, views this as a side gig until she finds a true profession as an artist, but that day never arrives, converting Emily ultimately into a criminal from which there is no turning back.
How Did Emily Turn Into A Criminal?
Youcef instructed Emily to use a false credit card to buy a luxury car from some customers, and he gave her eight minutes to leave their office before they caught her. The owner realised Emily had used a false credit card as she was about to leave their parking lot, so he attempted to stop her and struck her in the face. Here, Emily had completed the risky task, but upon seeing her injured face, Youcef was forced to inquire as to whether she could earn money in another manner. The scenario highlights the tension in Emily’s life that is undoubtedly brought on by her circumstances. Although she can’t afford to struggle, she aspires to be an artist. Despite being a nice painter, no one wants to hire her because of her strong beliefs (of which she may or may not be guilty entirely). Emily merely wants to pay off her student loans so that she may either return to a community college and finish her studies or be free to pursue her passion without the weight of any debt weighing on her mind, in contrast to Youcef who wants to use this fraudulent money to purchase a home.
The amorous tendencies of Youcef toward Emily caused his brother, Khalil, to become highly envious, and Emily’s desire to amass a large sum of money quickly was clearly seen by Khalil. Khalil made the decision to turn on his brother because Emily was unwittingly endangering the brothers. According to Youcef’s version of the events, Khalil refused to pay Youcef, which prevented him from making the down payment on the flat. Soon after, Youcef persuaded Emily to empty their office, bank accounts, and storage facilities of all cash. Youcef’s choice to steal from his brother was a clear statement of war, but Emily wasn’t prepared to enter the criminal underworld without considering the repercussions. Emily needed encouragement to move forward because it was past the point of no return. She got an interview at Liz’s advertising agency the very following day, and her supervisor gave her an unpaid internship for six months before paying her anything for her work. A job with no salary meant a literal death sentence for an artist who was attempting to pay off a sizable college loan while residing alone in Los Angeles. At the moment, Emily’s rage gave her the motivation she had to transition from being an artist to a criminal.
‘Emily The Criminal’ Ending Explained: What Happened To Emily, Khalil, And Youcef?
Before Emily and Youcef could steal the cash from Khalil, he had already removed it from the office and other locations. As a result, with no other choice, Emily convinced Youcef to face Khalil, who was concealing himself with some Armenian thugs at a safe house in Santa Clarita. After tricking the thugs, Khalil attacked Youcef and attempted to kill Emily, so Emily and Youcef pursued him in the bedroom. However, Khalil was stabbed in the stomach by Emily after she took a cutting knife out of her pocket. She then attempted to coerce Khalil into telling her about the money he had stolen from the office and the bank accounts, but for a brief while, Khalil denied taking any money. It is possible that Youcef emptied all the money from the bank account in this case and then accused Khalil for everything so that Emily would assist him in robbing his own brother. After the heist, he might have had a cunning scheme to defraud Emily as well, but it turned out that luck was not on his side this time.
Emily was informed by Khalil that there was money in the refrigerator (though he never said that it was the same cash that he had stolen from his brother). Quickly grabbing the bag of cash, Emily made the decision to leave it with Youcef. She attempted to get Youcef’s car keys after bringing him there bleeding. When Emily heard the nearby sirens, she became alarmed and made the decision to take the money and leave Youcef behind. The LAPD stormed her apartment the following day, only to discover that she had vanished.
The fate of the two brothers is not revealed in “Emily the Criminal’s” climactic scene. It does, however, transport us to a different nation, most likely South America, where Emily now leads a free life. Youcef questions Emily about what she would do with some money at one point in the movie. She promised him that the first thing she would do was pay off her debts, but given her predicament in the climax, we doubt she would be able to do so. But in the same scene, she tells Youcef that she simply wants to be free, see the world, and spend some time living abroad. She had a lengthy list, which Emily was probably crossing off one by one. Later, in the epilogue, we discover her painting once more, this time free of her debt. Though painting may have started as a hobby or side gig for her, it eventually evolved into a full-time job. In the last image, Emily is seated in front of a group of individuals, teaching them on how to conduct credit card theft. Along with symbolically switching places with Youcef, Emily has also transitioned into a life of crime, where there are few opportunities for an artist to survive. It simply serves to demonstrate that, ultimately, avarice always wins out over art.
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