A Drama

  • Written and Directed by Atom Egoyan

Atom Egoyan makes small films about people grieving the dead and relearning how to relate to the living, yet such works as Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter never feel like simple chamber pieces. Perhaps its the open, majestic, yet cold Canadian landscape, or maybe the original ways he finds to play with narrative time. He does it again, beautifully, in Adoration.

The story centers on Simon (Devon Bostick), an teenage boy of half Anglo, half adoration Arabic decent. (The ethnic confusion suggests Egoyan’s own origins. He was born in Cairo of Armenian descent, and has lived since childhood in Canada.) Assigned in school to write about an actual failed terrorist act, he creates a story around his own origins that makes his father an attempted murderer and his mother and his unborn self near victims. (His parents were actually killed some years before in a car accident.) When Simon puts the story up on the Internet, without revealing that it’s fiction, he becomes a chat room sensation.

Yet Adoration is not about a scandal on the Internet. Egoyan has a more intriguing and touching story to tell. It’s about the people left behind after a couple suddenly die, and how they react to and avoid each others’ grief, even years after the event.

The story leaps back and forth in time, and in levels of reality, showing his parents both in their real marriage and in Simon’s terrorist fantasy. But you’re seldom confused and never for long. Egoyan chooses not to show a major turning point–one that in a conventional Hollywood movie would have ended the second act. He just lets you realize that the current scene is either before or after something that was always inevitable.

Not to be missed.