Movie Review: “Adoration”
Atom Egoyan’s films are often about the ripples after impact, the dull pain left in the wake of tragedy. In “Adoration,” multiple psychic wounds — the loss of parents, spouses and siblings — come to bear on a bright teenager who might not deserve all this pressure, but invites it all because so few of his life questions have answers.
Simon (Devon Bostick) lost his beloved parents five years before, and now lives with his rudderless Uncle Tom (Scott Speedman) in Toronto, haunted by their deaths. The official word is that his classical violinist mother Rachel (Rachel Blanchard) and his father Sami (Noam Jenkins) were killed in a car accident, but the still-seething racial hatred of his dying grandfather (Kenneth Welsh) muddies the waters with insistence that Sami, a Palestinian, killed Rachel.
A high school French assignment intensifies Simon’s internal conflict. When the class is asked to translate an old news story about a terrorist attack in which a pregnant woman is forced by her Arab husband to carry a bomb onto an Israel-bound plane, Simon inserts his parents into the story. This intrigues his teacher Sabine (Arsinee Khanjian, Egoyan’s wife), who asks Simon to do a dramatic reading of his interpretation.
For all Simon knows, it could be true. His reading becomes a point of interest and conflict in his community, especially in online chatrooms where Simon’s classmates gather and debate the story alongside survivors of the crash and venom-spewing anti-Semites. To complicate matters further, Sabine is fired for overstepping the bounds of teaching with the assignment, and her interest in Simon and Tom is too intense for comfort.
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