Talented Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan errs on the side of shattered melodrama in a thought-provoking dissection of post-9/11 sensibilities.
Toronto tow-truck driver Tom (Scott Speedman) cares for his parentless 16-year-old nephew Simon (Devon Bostick), who writes a controversial essay for his high school French teacher Sabine (well played by Egoyan’s wife Arsinee Khanjian). Based on a newspaper article, Simon’s fictional story reveals that his mother was arrested when she was pregnant with him while boarding a flight to Israel not knowing that her Jordanian boyfriend planted a bomb in her luggage. Sabine encourages Simon to present his story to the class as factual, and it sets off a firestorm of controversy among the students who discuss it in video chat rooms that Simon anonymously moderates.
Dramatic subplots develop between Tom and Sabine and between Simon and his grandfather that reveal a deeper understanding of personal loyalties, ethics and painful truths. Egoyan tackles more issues than the film can properly address, but he achieves a responsible literary parlance that satisfies the essential elements of his absorbing social drama.
As with all of Egoyan’s films, Adoration is a forward-thinking exploratory work of cinema meant to invigorate audiences into social discussions beyond its narrative structure. Simon’s search for resolution comes with a symbolic personal gesture that seeks to sort out the present from the future with the dubious aid of modern-day technology’s social interaction. It’s all about the effort. Grade: B-
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