You are currently viewing Emily The Criminal Ending Explained: What Happened to Emily, Khalil and Youcef?

Emily The Criminal Ending Explained: What Happened to Emily, Khalil and Youcef?

Emily Benetto just wants to be an artist. But the luxury of being an artist in the modern world is not something everyone can afford. So if Emily can’t afford to become something she’s always dreamed of becoming, then what will she become? Her decision to choose art may have been influenced by her passion during her teenage years, which may have persuaded her to enroll in a prestigious college. She took out student loans to pay the fees and was willing to take the risk for the sake of the arts. But then a tragedy took place because of which Emily could not complete her studies. She is a passionate painter, but without a diploma, she cannot get a job as an artist. It’s the irony of his life. John Patton Ford’s film “Emily the Criminal” thematically explores these ironies through the story of its protagonist. The tale also depicts the various hardships, rejections, and feelings of discontent that push an artist to the brink and force them to do things in life that may not be morally correct but eventually become necessary for survival. So, without further ado, let’s examine the transformation point in Emily’s life that turned her into a criminal from a struggling artist.

Spoilers ahead


Emily the Criminal Plot Summary: What is the movie about?

New Jersey native Emily Benetto went to HBS for her arts degree. However, in 2016, an inevitable incident happened, after which she had to drop out of college. She was in a relationship with a boy who probably became toxic, and once, during an argument, Emily hit him, after which he reported her to the police. Emily was convicted of aggravated assault and had a huge student loan and legal bills coming up, as well as a grandmother who needed support. Due to these circumstances, Emily did not return to college and decided to work instead to pay the bills. She came to Los Angeles with the dream of finding a job in the arts industry, but unlike her childhood friend, Liz, Emily never had the chance. Liz was working at an ad agency and living the life Emily wanted. Emily believed that Liz would set up an interview at her company, which was her last hope to make her way into the field.

To survive in Los Angeles, Emily works as a part-time delivery girl for a catering company and lives in a shared apartment to save money. She eagerly fills in interviews at various companies, but wherever she walks in, her past beliefs are challenged, ruining her chances of finding a job. At the start of the film, Emily has about $70,000 in student debt to pay off, and this becomes her reason to do more odd jobs to get rid of the loan. In this time of need, a colleague named Javier Santos informs her of a job through which she can earn $200 working as a Dummy Shopper. Emily, with a bit of hesitation, contacts these sleazy customers and visits their shop, where she meets Lebanese brothers Youcef and Khalil Haddad. The younger brother, Youcef, tells the new group of employees about their credit card fraud scheme, where dummy shoppers have to use the fake credit card Youcef designed to buy stuff from the supermarket, which they resell more later on the black market.

Emily slowly becomes part of Youcef’s ring and begins creating fake credit cards herself, earning a considerable amount of money through which she is able to pay off some of her debts. However, until the very end, Emily sees this as a side hustle until she gets a real job as an artist, but that day never comes, thus ultimately turning Emily into a criminal from which he there is no turning back.


How did Emily become a criminal?

Youcef had asked Emily to buy a luxury car from some shoppers using a fake credit card and warned her that she had to get out of their office in 8 minutes or they would find out about the fraud. As Emily was about to pull out of their parking lot, the owner discovered that Emily had used a fake credit card, so he tried to stop her and punch her in the face. Here, Emily had finished the dangerous work, but looking at her bruised face, Youcef had to ask if she could make some money the other way. The scene briefly highlights the conflict in Emily’s life that is obviously created by her situation. She wants to be an artist but cannot afford to struggle. She’s a pretty painter, but no one wants to hire her because of her conviction (of which she may or may not be entirely guilty). However, unlike Youcef, who wants to buy a property with this fraudulent money, Emily just wants to get rid of her student debt so she can either go back to community college and finish her education, or can pursue her passion without the weight. of such debt troubling his mind.

Youcef’s brother Khalil was quite envious of Youcef’s romantic inclination towards Emily and could very well perceive Emily’s greed to get a huge sum of money in a short time. Emily was unwittingly putting the brothers in danger, and so Khalil decided to betray her brother. In Youcef’s version of the story, we learn that Khalil refused to pay Youcef, due to which he was unable to pay the deposit for the apartment. Shortly after, Youcef convinced Emily to clean the money from their office, bank accounts, and storage units. Youcef’s decision to steal from her brother was a direct declaration of war, but Emily wasn’t ready to jump into the world of crime without thinking about the consequences. It was a point of no return, and Emily needed a push to move on. The very next day, she had an interview at Liz’s ad agency, where her boss offered her a 6-month unpaid internship before paying her anything for her efforts. For an artist struggling with a huge student loan and surviving alone in Los Angeles, a job without pay meant a literal death sentence. Emily’s anger at this moment gave her the impetus she needed to go from artist to criminal.


Emily The Criminal Ending Explained: What Happened to Emily, Khalil and Youcef?

Khalil had already drained the money from the office and other places before Emily and Youcef could steal it from him. Therefore, with no other option, Emily persuaded Youcef to confront Khalil, who was hiding in a safe house in Santa Clarita with Armenian thugs. Emily and Youcef tricked the goons and then tackled Khalil in the bedroom, where he attacked Youcef and attempted to kill Emily. However, Emily pulled a box cutter from her pocket and stabbed Khalil in the stomach. At this point, she tried to threaten Khalil to tell her about the money he had stolen from the office and from the bank accounts, but for a moment Khalil denied stealing any money. Here, one would assume that it was Youcef who emptied the money from the bank account and then blamed everything on Khalil so that Emily would help him steal his own brother. He also may have had a sinister plan to trick Emily after the robbery, but it turns out fate wasn’t on his side this time.

Khalil revealed to Emily that there was money in the fridge (although he never said it was the same money he stole from his brother). Emily quickly took the bag full of cash and decided to leave it with Youcef. She brought a bloodied Youcef to her car but couldn’t find her car keys. Emily freaked out hearing the sirens nearby and so decided to take the money and leave Youcef behind. The next day, the LAPD raided her apartment to find she was missing.

The final sequence of “Emily the Criminal” does not reveal the fate of the two brothers to us. However, this takes us to another country, probably South America, where Emily now leads a free life. At one point in the film, Youcef asks Emily what she would do if she had the money. She told him the first thing she would do was pay off her debts (which we don’t think she’d be able to do given her situation in the climax). However, during the same sequence, she tells Youcef that she just wants to be free and have experiences and live in another country for a while. She had a long list, and probably Emily was ticking it off one by one. Later, in the final sequence, we find her painting without the burden of her debt. However, painting probably became his side hustle or maybe a hobby, and eventually his side hustle became his full time job. In the last shot, we see Emily sitting in front of a group of people and telling them about the credit card fraud they are about to commit. Emily has not only symbolically swapped places with Youcef, but has also become a full-time criminal, where there is little chance of an entertainer surviving. It only shows us that once again, greed eventually triumphs over art.


“Emily the Criminal” is a 2022 drama-thriller film directed by John Patton Ford.

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