The Emoji Movie (2017) Review

5/5* Siobhan Divers | Shiv’s Show


Dir: Tony Leondis

86 mins

Starring: T. J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Sean Hayes, Patrick Stewart


The Emoji Movie is a rare example of a film succeeding on every level: interesting characters, an intriguing and unique storyline and a catchy soundtrack.

Centering on an emoji who can express different emotions, the film explores life lessons through a story of love and acceptance of the true self.

Main character Gene (T.J. Miller), the youngest of the ‘meh’ family of emojis, fails to make the right expression when he is chosen to be included in a text on his owners smartphone. As a result of this, he sets off to the cloud to reset himself in order to escape deletion.

While on his journey, Gene meets Hi-5 (James Corden) and Jailbreak (Anna Faris) who also have motivations for finding the cloud resulting in friendship and romance sub-plots within the primary storyline.

Therefore while the film features a number of elements typical of animated comedies: a quest, love story, villain and a happy ending, it’s a modern take on these cliché elements. Featuring a variety of puns, references and other jokes, the plot is carried by the clever remarks of the main and supporting characters. When Gene knocks over a group of original emoticons he apologises: “Sorry emoticons. I hate knocking over the elderly.”

As well as the strong continuing attempts at humour throughout, the film also features a head-strong, independent female character in Jailbreak and a cast of other stars including Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera and Sofía Vergara.

As an avid smartphone user, I appreciate the humour within the emoji movie and the attempt of Tony Leondis, the director, to show that this fantasy world is not too far away from our reality. When smartphone user Alex (Jake T. Austin) receives a text from the girl he likes, he looks for inspiration on what to text back, to which his friend replies: “words aren’t cool”. While this is not how any even slightly educated person wants the world to end up like, it is a fantasy/science fiction/ comedy film for a reason so it would be silly to let the embedded advertisements of smartphone apps and the particular type of humour ruin a good animation.

All in all, The Emoji Movie suprises, entertains and offers life lessons so it’s the perfect film for young people who would appreciate the humour and anyone else who enjoys a wee pun.


If you liked this, please read, like and comment on my other reviews here.

I also have a Letterboxd account where I post some short reviews of the most recent films I’ve seen.

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Siobhan x

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