TIFF21 REVIEW: La hija [The Daughter] [2021]

Nobody can know you’re here. The plan is simple, but risky. Javier (Javier Gutiérrez) has worked at a juvenile delinquent center for two decades, interacting with all kinds of troubled teens. After trying to conceive a child with his wife Adela (Patricia López Arnaiz) for almost as many, they’ve yet to succeed. As a result, Javier can’t help but see a new resident as a means to an end wherein both parties can benefit. Irene (Irene Virgüez) is fourteen, pregnant, and in love with a boy who’s currently in jail…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Sundown [2021]

What are you doing?! Writer/director Michel Franco throws his first curveball early during his latest film Sundown. We’ve already spent a bit of time with his quartet of European characters vacationing in Acapulco to make a few assumptions before workaholic Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) leans over to the quietly satisfied Neil (Tim Roth) and thanks him for coming along. Why wouldn’t he have? Isn’t he her husband and her kids’ father? He might be. Perhaps Alice and Neil are in the middle of a separation wherein he only agreed to come…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Lakewood [2021]

I want this to end. Screenwriter Chris Sparling takes us back to the script that put him on the Hollywood map with Lakewood. Much like his isolated one-man show Buried, this latest focuses on a single character caught in a high-pressure situation with seemingly no way out. Unlike it, however, the real danger is far away from the screen. You see, Amy Carr (Naomi Watts) is safe. She woke up, texted work that she’d be taking a personal day, told the kids to go to school, and set off on…

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