Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Emily the Criminal – Netflix Originals
Emily (Aubrey Plaza) was in her mid twenties living in Los Angeles and struggling to make ends meet working as a catering deliverer to try pay off her $70,000 in student loan debt that she had from attending art school. Unfortunately her options were limited because previously she was convicted of aggravated assault while in a abusive relationship, which not only didn’t allow her to finish art school but also gave her a criminal record limiting her employment opportunities.
After doing a favor for a co-worker, he gave Emily a number to text saying that she could make some quick easy money. She was given an address to attend a meeting if she was interested in making $200 in an hour. The meeting seemed like an orientation where they took her ID at the door and explained that they were looking for “dummy shoppers”, which are individuals who use stolen credit cards to buy goods. The meeting was led a Lebanese man named Youcef (Theo Rossi) and Emily seemed to hit it off with him as they traveled with the group to a shopping center where they were instructed to buy flat screen TVs and bring them back to the van.
Emily’s first purchase went off without a hitch and in doing so was offered the opportunity to try another job the following day that would net her $2,000, but was instructed to wait for a text the following day where she would be given the details when she arrived. This time Emily was asked to steal a high-end car and was given a cashier’s check, a black card with no limit and new fake ID. Youcef dropped her off and explained that after the transaction she had eight minutes before the bank would call to verify the account. Emily handled the whole situation but before she left they discovered that the transaction was not valid. She was attacked, but fled and was followed eventually spaying her attacker with pepper spray to escape.
Emily took the car to Youcef and demanded her $2,000 but had a panic attack, so Youcef gave her a ride home where they talked about their dreams and why they were both doing these things. Youcef had a rental property he was renovating for his mother and Emily had dreams of traveling to South America and pursuing her art again. Emily asked Youcef if he would show her the business, so he showed her how to make the stolen credit cards and gave her some rules to follow, specifically not to go to the same store in a week and do not sell out of your home
Unfortunately Emily didn’t follow Youcef’s advice and gave her home address to a couple that broke into her apartment and held a box cutter to her throat while they searched for money and even decided to take a dog that she was pet sitting for her friend. In leaving they threatened her that they knew where she lived, but Emily didn’t want to be victimized so she grabbed her taser, ran out to the truck, tased the guy and drug the girl out threatened her that now she knows where they lived, then grabbed her money and the dog and went back to her apartment.
Youcef said if Emily made over $5,000 he would give her more card numbers with higher limits, but while she was waiting his cousin and business partner Khalil came into the office. He spoke with Youcef in Lebanese, seeming suspicious of Emily presence. Emily had slipped up and shopped at the same store twice in a week and was caught on video, which angered Khalil, though Youcef defended Emily. Ultimately Khalil and Youcef had it out, so Youcef’s plan was to steal all the merchandise and money and flee with Emily, but would this be the way for them to make their dreams come true or conversely it could end very bad for both of them.
Runtime 1h 37m