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.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
Simon, a Toronto high school student, has been raised by his maternal Uncle Tom since Simon's parents, Rachel and Sami, died in a car accident eight years ago. Tom, a tow truck driver, decided to move to the city into Rachel's house and assume the mortgage, something he could ill afford, largely not to disrupt Simon's life, but equally to get away from his and Rachel's father, Morris, an openly bigoted man. That upbringing has made Tom a sullen and angry man. Morris only recently passed away. Rachel and Sami met when she, a violinist, brought her instrument in to be serviced, Sami the repairman. Simon now owns his mother's expensive violin, which Tom would like to sell to help pay the mortgage and Simon's imminent university tuition. One day at school, Simon's French teacher Sabine reads a French newspaper story from several years ago as a translation exercise for the class, the story about a pregnant woman traveling to Israel, her then boyfriend who, unknown to her, planted a bomb in...
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