She got her first acting role at the age of 8, when she appeared in the film ‘The Secret Life of Bees,’ where she played one of the main roles as the younger version of the leading character played by Dakota Fanning. The film received negative reviews and Emily’s performance remained somewhat less talked about.
In 2009, she played one of the key roles in Gasper Noe’s highly controversial film ‘Enter the Void.’ The experimental film had Emily playing the role of younger version of the leading character, Linda, played by Paz de la Huerta. Although the film was talked about quite a lot when it was announced, owing to director Gasper Noe’s notoriety for making controversial films. The film bombed badly on the box office but received appreciation at Cannes Film Festival. All the performances in the film were also praised.
In 2009, Emily also made her television debut with a small role in the long running daily soap ‘Days of Our Lives.’ In the same year, she played a recurring role as Emily Gardener in the series ‘Eastwick.’ The series had opened with mixed reviews but as it progressed further, the reviews became much more positive.
In 2010, she appeared in the drama film ‘Blood Done Sign My Name,’ where she played a key role as Julie Tyson. The film was set in the Vietnam era but could not receive the critical and commercial appreciation that it warranted. The film got average reviews and a below average collection at the box office when it was released. In the same year, she appeared in more than half a dozen television roles such as ‘Flashpoint,’ ‘Criminal Minds’ and ‘Medium.’
In 2010, she played a major recurring role in the series ‘All my Children,’ an American soap opera which has been airing for more than 40 years. Emily played the recurring role of Emma Lavery. However, her stint with the show was short lived just for a few months as it was the case with soap operas, they use different actors for many of their characters. Emily portrayed the role of Emma for seven months between February to August 2010.
In the same year, Emily appeared in the television film ‘November Christmas,’ which was based on a short story of the same name. Emily played the role of young Vanessa in the film which was received well by the critics and the audiences. Emily ended 2010 with another television film titled ‘Sundays at Tiffany’s,’ where she played the younger version of the leading character Jane Claremont played by Alyssa Milano. The film received very good ratings and hence, Emily ended the busiest year of her life with a critical and commercial success.
In 2011 came the biggest role of her career in the biggest film of her career by then. She was signed on to play a key role in Clint Eastwood directed film ‘J. Edgar.’ Emily played the role of Shirley Temple, a budding Hollywood actress. Appearing in a major film such as this was an accomplishment in itself and the film went on becoming one of the most critically and commercially acclaimed films of the year. The film provided a major boost to Emily’s career and she started getting much better role offers.
In the same year, she appeared in the series ‘Revenge’ and played one of the most crucial recurring roles as a young Amanda Clark, the leading character in the series. Emily appeared in the series for five seasons from 2011 until 2015. In 2012, she appeared in the film ‘Won’t Back Down,’ starring Holly Hunter and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Although the film received bad reviews and ended up becoming one of the biggest box office failures of the year, it received appreciation for the performances.
In the next couple of years, she appeared in two television films titled ‘Dear Dumb Diary’ and ‘Beautiful People.’ ‘Dear Dumb Diary’ was a film based on a children’s novel of the same name and starred Emily in the very first leading role of her career.
In 2013, she had another big career breakthrough when she appeared as one the leading characters in the psychological horror film ‘A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia.’ She played the role of Heidi Wryck in the film, the young daughter in the victim family. The film received largely negative reviews but it remained a popular horror film and was a box office success.
In 2013, she also appeared in a wacky anthology comedy film ‘Movie 43,’ where she appeared in the segment called ‘Beezle.’ The film was a hugely controversial film owing to its bizarre subject matter and inclusion of several Hollywood A-list stars such as Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere and Gerard Butler. The film was later purchased by Netflix but before that, it turned out to be one of the most critically panned films of all times.
In 2014, she starred in another horror film titled ‘Mockingbird,’ which was a found footage film and released straight to DVD. Emily played the role of Abby in the film, which was one of the main roles. She followed her love for horror movies in 2016 after she starred in the film ‘Lights Out,’ which was appreciated both critically and commercially. In 2017, she appeared in the Netflix film ‘The Babysitter,’ which received favourable reviews by the critics.