A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
In the scene at the end of the film at his grandfather's empty lake house, Simon first unloaded the wooden Christmas figures from his duffel bag onto a pile of firewood on the end of the dock. He then went into his grandfather's workshop and sawed the scroll off of his mother's violin. With his phone, he took a picture of the severed scroll in his hand with the dock in the background, but the wooden Christmas figures now appear in the middle of the dock. See more »
A very involving film with performances that are uniformly excellent
Atom Egoyan's Adoration weaves a complex tale of a young man searching for the truth about his family by perpetuating a lie in order to witness its consequences. Simon (Devon Bostick), a young high school student, tells his class that his Lebanese father Sami (Noam Jenkins) was a terrorist who attempted to blow up a plane with a bomb carried by his pregnant wife, Rachel (Rachel Blanchard), a talented violinist. In his presentation to the class, Simon says that he is the unborn child, his mother was the innocent being led to her demise, and his father was the killer out to murder 400 innocent people to promote a cause. The only problem with the story is that it is not true. The incident never happened. The film exposes the ease with which people are willing to accept what they are told without question and how modern technology has become a useful tool for those eager to disseminate falsehood.
According to the director, the film is "about people dealing with absences. He (Simon) imagines having a father who is a demon; he wants to go as far as possible into what that might mean." Adoration begins with an indelible image a young woman standing at the end of a pier overlooking a river playing the violin while her husband and young son watch in awe. Moving forward and backward in time with great ease, the film slowly constructs the events which have led to Simon's school confessional. The key player is Simon's French teacher Sabine (Arsinée Khanjian) whose own family was killed in Lebanon by a terrorist attack. Sabine reads an article to the class about an incident that occurred in 1986 in which a Jordanian man, Nezar Hindawi, sent his pregnant Irish girlfriend on an El Al flight with a bomb in her handbag, of which she had no knowledge until it was discovered by Israeli airport security.
Heavily influenced by his bigoted grandfather Morris (Kenneth Walsh) to believe that his father intentionally caused his mother's death in a car crash, the vulnerable Simon constructs a parallel between the article read by his French teacher and the death of his parents. On his own, Simon posts his fake story on the Internet and has to deal with emotional responses from holocaust victims, holocaust deniers, students, and professors talking about terrorism, martyrdom, and heroism. It is a discussion that often sinks to the level of victimization as portrayed by veteran actor Maury Chaykin who blames the bogus airplane incident for "ruining" his life. Simon's uncle, Tom (Scott Speedman), who raised the boy after his parents' death, acts as a mediator between his nephew and the teacher who encourages Simon to tell his fake story in the school auditorium.
Tom is a tow truck operator with a short fuse who harbors a deep resentment against his father for the way he was treated as a child and his encounters with Sabine contain some of the film's most intense moments. Aided by a tenderly evocative violin-prominent soundtrack by Mychael Danna, Adoration is an intelligent and imaginative study of family conflict and reconciliation that serves as a compelling probe into human behavior and the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction. Though it contains a great deal of ambiguity and character motivations tend to be somewhat mystifying, Adoration is a very involving film with performances that are uniformly excellent, particularly Arsinee Khanjian as the emotionally-damaged teacher and Speedman and Bostock who provide enough tension to keep us riveted throughout.
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