A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
Dot (Belle), a young deaf and mute woman, is sent to live with her godparents (Falco and Donovan) and their daughter (Cuthbert). The new addition to the household realizes that everything is not copacetic in the home, and the family's dark come to light.
With a PhD in Chemistry, devout and bearded, Syria-born Ashade Mouhana (Abdellatif Kechiche) drives a cab in New York, and must accept financial assistance from friends who attend the Islamic Council of America so that he can pay a lawyer to get his Canadian brother, who is being detained as a '2nd tier suspect', released. He also has to look after his toddler nephew and French-speaking Caucasian sister-in-law, Eloise (Elodie Bouchez), and is fearful that his brother may be tortured in Syria. One night he befriends a passenger, who identifies herself as Phyllis (Robin Wright Penn), claims she is Head of Programming of Q-Dog Television, sympathizes and offers to assist him get his brother released. He gets a shock when she asks him to carry out an act of terrorism as retribution against America. He walks away, and subsequently finds out that she has stolen his money. Shortly thereafter, his cab is confiscated by secret agents, and Eloise is held for questioning. Vengeful, he shaves off... Written by
This acting in this film was excellent, and I found it very powerful and gripping with a very unexpected ending. It is too bad that smaller films like this, that are thought provoking and leave you thinking well after seeing it, often get overlooked.
As disturbing as Robin Wright Penn's character is, you can't take your eyes off of her and wonder what she is capable of next. And Abdel is also very captivating. The emotional twists, the way these two psychologically torture each other consistently leaves an element of surprise. Some may love it, some may hate it, but with these two controversial characters, I would be hard pressed to hear anyone leave this saying they were bored.
The one thing that is sad, is that indie films like this that are not getting the media attention deserved, means that Robin won't even get an Oscar nod, cuz she acted her ass off! Props to the writer/director Stanzler for taking a brave chance on this material.
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