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TIFF 2021 Mini-Reviews

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TIFF 2021 Mini-Reviews

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Elevation Pictures

Flee
A mix of documentary and animation, director Jonas Poher Rasmussen creates a heartfelt portrait of a refugee from Afghanistan. He manages to combine the two mediums, using the animated portions to help tell Amin’s story. As a result, Flee allows itself to stand out from other talking head docs and uses the animation to create further empathy for Amin. The use of archival footage provides the proper historical context and feels especially relevant to what’s happening in Afghanistan now. The film also manages to explore Amin’s sexuality and the filmmakers give him the space to tell his story in his own way.

Titane
When Titane begins, one isn’t sure what to make of it. The opening scenes set up a bizarre story of a woman who loves cars and murders strangers. She then gets impregnated by an automobile, which leads one to think this French movie will get really bonkers and out there. However, the film ends up becoming surprisingly conventional when she goes on the run and pretends to be a fireman’s long-lost son. There are occasional reminders that she’s pregnant, but the movie ends up feeling drawn out and the characters become one-dimensional. Titane doesn’t live up to the strange set-up and comes across as two separate storylines smashed into one.

Charlotte
Telling the story of Charlotte Salomon, a German painter who was killed during the Holocaust, Charlotte has the potential to explore her art and her tragic story. Unfortunately, it becomes a rather standard biopic and only skims the surface of what makes her art so lasting. The story is told in a very dry manner and the animation has a stilted quality to it. The film jumps around and doesn’t explore the people as well as it could. Directors Eric Warin and Tahir Rana don’t flinch in depicting the atrocities committed by the Nazis, but the presentation as a whole disappoints.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Carried by a strong leading performance from Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye is able to take the audience behind-the-scenes of the televangelist industry. Even with the occasional biopic conventions, director Michael Showalter is able to tell Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker’s story in a way that’s compelling. Chastain successfully disappears into the role and shows her genuine enthusiasm for spreading the gospel she believes in. This works in contrast to her slimy husband, who mostly has money on the brain. While certain parts of Tammy Faye’s life could have been explored a bit more, the film is a solid overview of her rise and eventual fall.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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