Emily the Criminal Movie Ending, Explained – What Happens to Emily?
Written and Directed by John Patton Ford, “Emily the Criminal” is buoyed by a remarkable Audrey Plaza. The film speaks volumes about the modern education system and the financial market’s tendency to exploit labor, and it also works as a neat edge-of-the-seat crime thriller.
Emily the Criminal Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:
Emily (Aubrey Plaza), an art student with huge student debt, works as a food delivery person for a catering company. Needless to say, the pay is not enough. Not at all enough to match the remaining amount of her student loan. Emily struggles to get any other high-paying job because she has a prior felony charge. One day, she helps one of her colleagues at the catering company, and that colleague, with the intention to return the favor, gives her a ‘Dummy Shopper’ connection and address. Saying it would help her earn $200 in just an hour.
The ‘Dummy Shopper’ agency turns out to be a Credit Card fraud ring. One of the leaders, Youcef (Theo Rossi), explains the procedure to Emily and the rest of the enthusiasts, while the other leader, Khalil, prepares false identification proof for the participants. Youcef explains that all the participants have to do is make a purchase. On that day, it is a large plasma screen TV. The participants would be provided a credit card for that—a stolen one.
With some trepidation, Emily agrees to the first job. And to her surprise, it goes smoothly. She gets paid her two hundred, and no harm is done. This gives Emily enough confidence to go for the second job, purchasing a car. This job does not go as smoothly as the first one. The car dealer gets suspicious, and eventually, the confrontation leads to physical assault, where Emily gets her nose broken. However, she manages to escape with the car nevertheless. Youcef nurses her injury.
Meanwhile, Emily also tries to pursue her art career. Her friend, Liz (Megalyn Echikunwoke), whose dog Emily takes care of when she goes on vacation, tries to get Emily an interview with her boss. In the graphic designing department. For Emily, that could be the start she desperately needs. However, that never really materializes. At first, Liz tells her that the job is gone. And then, when a spot does open up, Emily finds that the position is an unpaid internship. Angered for apparent reasons, Emily storms out of that interview.
Emily the Criminal Movie Ending Explained and Themes Analysed
What drives Emily and Youcef to the path of crimes?
‘Emily the Criminal’ perfectly captures the desperation that propels people to turn to crime, especially crimes of monetary nature. It is no ‘The Bicycle Thief,’ but it channels similar pangs through its central characters. The film’s cornerstone is the helplessness in front of an insurmountable financial burden. The story portrays both Emily and Youcef in a positive light. Their desire and longing for a normal crime-free life are clearly depicted through their conversations.
As Emily and Youcef start to get closer, Youcef reveals that he is doing all this to provide the ‘down-payment’ for a property, which Youcef plans to purchase and embark on a legitimate real-estate business. Emily also wants to put her artistic talent to use. Despite their efforts in the right direction, the results do not come their way. As results often do. Their every effort to earn money to save themselves in this modern economy gets thwarted, leaving them no option but to come back to their fake credit cards all the time.
Does Youcef survive? What happens to Khalil?
Youcef’s partner and brother Khalil get dissatisfied with the relationship Youcef is nurturing with Emily. An enraged Khalil confronts Youcef and Emily. Emily also makes the mistake of hitting the same shop twice. It enables the shop CCTV footage to mark her for the family.
With the relationship between the two brothers on a downward spiral, Youcef asks for Emily’s help. In robbing the stash that belongs to both Youcef and Khalil. Khalil has not been paying Youcef, and Youcef is on the verge of losing his property due to non-payment of the down payment. Emily, who recently had her hopes crushed due to that unpaid internship offer, agrees to help him.
However, it seems Khalil also has similar things in mind. He robs Youcef first. Emily has had enough. She urges Youcef to get his money back. Youcef has promised Emily a cut, so Emily needs Youcef to come through and get the required cash back from Khalil. So, they plan to steal from Khalil. Their plan starts well, but Khalil gets the better of them. He attacks Youcef, grievously injuring him. Then he pins Emily and tries to asphyxiate her. Emily, however, manages to stab Khalil with a box-cutter knife. She also manages to get Khalil to give the location of a bag of cash.
As police and ambulance sirens start to become louder, Emily leaves Youcef and takes the bag of money. Emily grabs the bag and takes Youcef as well to Youcef’s car. But Youcef, now just about conscious, has dropped the car keys. It is not clear whether Youcef or Khalil survives. But the arrival of an ambulance might indicate that they could just about pull through.
The Burden of Education – Emily’s fate
Ford’s screenplay attacks the American education system, especially when it comes to studying art. The gross undervaluation of artists and art is something that reeks through the story. It also speaks a lot of how expensive education has become, something that should be easily accessible for anyone who desires it.
As Emily starts her life in South America, it is clear that she can never rely on her artistic talent to survive. That is why in South America, without the burden of student loans, Emily also takes the role of Youcef and starts explaining about ‘Dummy Shopper’ to local financially downtrodden folks. Emily still has to resort to the other job she does well. As a criminal.