Throwback Thursday Review: Adoration

  • Actors: Devon Bostick, Rachel Blanchard, Louca Tassone, Kenneth Welsh, Yuval Daniel
  • Director: Atom Egoyan
  • Writer: Atom Egoyan
  • Producers: Atom Egoyan, Jennifer Weiss, Laurent Pétin, Marcy Gerstein, Michèle Pétin
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date:  2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes


            Born in Egypt and raised in Canada, filmmaker Atom Egoyan brings a unique worldview to his films. Adoration isn’t a political film in the sense that any coherent message is made, but there are still present nonetheless. Rather than making a film which utilizes the medium to make a point, Egoyan simply shows how the issues of terrorism and religious/political beliefs come to affect the lives of a group of people after a high school teacher encourages a student to tell a white lie.


    The story involves a teenage boy named Simon (Devon Bostick) and his uncle, Tom (Scott Speedman). They both seem to be having a difficult time with life, Tom struggling to make enough money to raise his sister’s son away from his hateful father. Things only get worse for Simon when his French teacher, Sabine (Arsinee Khanjian), gives a translating assignment about a terrorist threat. When he tells the story as though his deceased parents were the ones involved, Sabine insists that he repeat the exercise out-loud to his class. After that he tells the story to larger audiences, and they all believe it to be true. The deeper issue is why Simon seems to believe that this story is close to his own truth about his parents’ death.


            Egoyan tells the story out of order, building tension in the uncertainty of each character’s intentions. We get a sense of who these people are in their actions, but often these actions are seen out of context the first time around. In his presentation of the story, Egoyan utilizes film as a way to show that sometimes it there is more beneath the narrative than we can see on the surface level. In fact, there is always more beneath the surface, but occasionally the characters are just as ignorant to this fact as the audience.


            If this sounds confusing, it is mostly because any Egoyan film follows the characters with dedication as their paths cross. He is brilliantly capable of showing the intertwining of strangers’ lives, though his characters are also often also much more complex. There are no simple answers in Adoration, and some may find that this film asks too much of the audience, providing too few answers by the final frame. This may be true, but if everything were shown and told, there would be far less to discuss and speculate after the film.



    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10

    Historical Significance: 7/10




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