In Review: Emotional Motor Unit

A lonely writer learns what it is to be human when he interacts with a machine known as the Emotional Motor Unit.

Synopsis: A lonely writer learns what it is to be human when he interacts with a machine known as the Emotional Motor Unit.

Review: Written by  Xènia Puiggrós and directed by  Adam Nelson this short film takes a look at the importance of human connection by setting the story in a world where there seems to be very little of it in terms of a personal life. 

The story centres on a writer who works for a company writing informational articles for encyclopedias and so forth. Things get interesting when his agent upgrades him to the status of an author, but the writer admittedly has no life experience from which to pen a compelling fiction due to him living such an isolated existence. To that end, the writer is assigned an android called the Emotional Motor Unit or EMU for short. He is given the use of this android for two weeks after which time it will be taken away by the company and wiped for other assignments.

Of course, over time the writer and the Android make a connection, which sees the writer not wanting to forget her. A fact, which leads him to write what he considers to be his best work.

This is a really simple and strong science fiction story, which I think most people will be able to relate to given that we all feel somewhat lonely and isolated at some point in our lives. Some more than others.

As someone who works alone for a fair bit of the time. I found myself relating well to the writer but also feeling sorry for the fact that his solitude is as intense as it is. The EMU definitely brings life into his minimal existence and he has to learn to deal with having another person in his personal space. A person who as a machine seems to be more human than he is. I thought the moments in which the writer was learning to connect were really well performed and had you feeling really bad for him when the EMU was taken away.

For a short 22 minutes, this film packs an awful lot into the time allotted.

Graham Cawte puts in a great performance as the writer and Francesca Burgoyne is excellent as the Emotional Motor Unit especially when it came to making her movements seem mechanical. 

If you are looking for a more cerebral science fiction experience in which you have characters over the usual explosive special effects. Then I highly recommend this film. If you’re a fan of shows such as ‘Human’s’ then you’ll very likely get a bit of enjoyment from this short.

You can check out Emotional Motor Unit on Amazon Prime now.


Emotional Motor Unit
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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