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Friday, May 1, 2009

ADORATION

By D.E.Levine

Director: Atom Egoyan
Producers: Atom Egoyan, Simone Urdl, Jennifer Weiss
Executive Producers: Robert Lantos, Michele Halberstadt, Laurent Petin
Screenplay: Atom Egoyan
Cast: Arsinee Khanjian, Scott Speedman, Rachel Blanchard, Noam Jenkins, Devon Bostick, Kenneth Walsh
Genre: Drama
Country of Origin: Canada
Running Time: 100 Minutes

Written and directed by Atom Egoyan, Adoration is an absorbing tale of Simon, a young orphaned high schooler being raised by his single, uncle, Tom.

Through early scenes of Simon interviewing his grandfather in the hospital, we see the older man as a caring and wise man.

However, through a different perspective, that of the uncle, we see the grandfather as a racist who hated Simon's Middle Eastern father and claims that the father intended to murder Simon's mother in the car crash that took both their lives.

Flashbacks to the evening of the car crash reveal different memories on the part of each character, causing disparate stories.

Simon's family narrative is cleverly interwoven into a news story presented as a translation by Simon's high school French teacher. Simon gets the idea to not only translate the story, but also present it from the perspective of a child in the womb of his mother.

Through the teacher's encouragement, Simon develops the idea but takes it further by presenting it not only in class, but also to the world via the Internet.

Only later do we learn that the French teacher is motivated by her own unique relationship with Simon's dead father and is not necessarily working in Simon's interests.

The film is really about Simon's search for identity in the digital age, where the truth is often irrelevant. His interaction with people online via web cam shows that his tale is met with anger, sympathy and even support.

However, Simon experiences alienation as a result of the world-side response to his story, and that is the motivating factor that forces him to turn away from his computer and face the actual story, which takes an unexpected twist that involves all the other characters in his life.

Adoration is fascinating in that it presents all types of post-9/11 questions about terrorism, deceptiveness of appearance, racism, bigotry, ethics, and enabling a dialogue via technology which simultaneously also hinders the truth.

While extremely interesting, there are many non-believable or muddled concepts in the film, and Atom Egoyan himself admits that Simon's perception of many events is drawn from what he imagines in his mind, in other words, what he wishes or believed had happened.

Since we have no proof that what he imagines is real, we are left at the end disappointed because the problems are unresolved.
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