Aging jockey Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) has become weathered due to decades on the riding circuit. After noticing changes in his hand, he learns he’s facing a debilitating illness. Realizing this might be his last championship race, he practises with the help of trainer Ruth (Molly Parker) and a promising young horse. Further changes begin happening in Jackson’s life when young jockey, Gabriel (Moisés Arias), claims to be his son.
Director and Co-Writer Clint Bentley has brought audiences into the life of a middle-aged jockey. We witness the importance of the relationship between jockey, trainer and horse. And while peaking on the men who ride, we learn of the costs to body and mind. Bentley’s shots, with help from the talents of Director of Photography Adolpho Veloso, of the Arizona sunsets against the stables and track, are breathtaking. They collide with the heartbreaking performance from Collins Jr.
He steers this touching portrait of a man facing the sunset of his career. He embodies a complex man who has spent his life at something that is about to be ripped away from him. He excels particularly in Jackson‘s refusal to accept Gabriel as his son. And then slowly exposing the hope that grows in believing he might be. Collins Jr. and Arias have beautiful chemistry that leaps from the screen. They depict two men at different stages of their career: one ending, one beginning. We get to see the excitement of beginning in the career you yearn for, and the anguish in watching it slip away.
Arias is strong as Gabriel whose aspiration and ambition are palpable. He’s best in quiet scenes between Gabriel and Jackson discussing the passion for the sport. Additionally, Parker is a standout as empathetic Ruth. She exudes both Ruth’s hunger for a win and her care for Jackson’s condition.
Jockey is a poignant look at the desires of career and family. It brings us right into the world of being a jockey and its taxing costs to the body. Further, it’s an exploration of the importance of family; whether it be through blood or spirit.
Jockey screens at Sundance:
Live Premiere: January 31 at 6 PM (EST)
On-Demand (available for 24 hours): February 2 at 10 AM (EST)
We had nothing but raves for Martin Scorcese-produced PIECES OF A WOMAN coming out of TIFF ’20 and we’re so excited to share with you this Trailer! Witness Vanessa Kirby’s Best Actress-winning performance from the Venice Film Festival.
Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are a Boston couple on the verge of parenthood whose lives change irrevocably when a home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy. Thus begins a yearlong odyssey for Martha, who must navigate her grief while working through fractious relationships with Sean and her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn), along with the publicly vilified midwife (Molly Parker), whom she must face in court. Directed by Kornél Mundruczó (WHITE GOD, winner of the 2014 Prix Un Certain Regard Award), written by Kata Wéber, and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, PIECES OF A WOMAN is a deeply personal, searing, and ultimately transcendent story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss.
PIECES OF A WOMAN arrives in theatres December 30, 2020 and on Netflix January 7, 2021.
Pieces of a Woman is an intimate portrait of a couple who experience the greatest loss. Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Shawn (Shia LaBeouf) are passionately in love and eagerly expecting the birth of their daughter. When the night arrives, they learn their Midwife is busy with another client and a different one is sent. Unfortunately, complications arise with their home birth and the couple is sent spiralling into heart-wrenching tragedy.
Director Kornél Mundruczó shoots this outstanding Film with unflinching honesty. He is known for putting his characters under immense pressure. His use of long, continuous takes in pivotal scenes creates a real authenticity, us watching as scenes unfold in real-time and the result is both agonizing and gut-wrenching for the viewer.
The Film’s opening sequence lasts for 30 minutes. It consists of long takes following Martha, Shawn and their Midwife (Molly Parker) around their house — spanning from her first contractions to her delivery. This scene perfectly shows the love which Martha and Shawn share, and their desire to welcome their baby girl. We are immersed into the pressure cooker that becomes their house and in witnessing Martha‘s extreme difficulty, we get the unsettling sense that something isn’t right. Under Mundruczó’s masterful direction, this scene becomes a sweeping emotional journey and the sets the stage for what are some truly powerful performances.
Kirby is magnificent as a woman grappling with grief, while her body and family constantly remind her of what she lost. She commands each scene with powerful actions and controlled expressions. Most impressive, she finds that delicate balance in Martha’s newly hardened heart and her vulnerability. LaBeouf gives one of the greatest performances of his career. He is at his best drowning in Shawn’s grief and is desperate for Martha‘s love and affection again. While often we see this from a woman’s perspective, the Film gives us a genuine snapshot of what it might be like for a man.
Kirby and LaBeouf even though their characters are so different, have a palpable chemistry that makes us fall in love with them. They’re portraying a couple who are facing the biggest challenge in their relationship. Thanks to their strong chemistry we are invested in their love and are devastated when we see it crumbling. They are joined by a talented Supporting Cast. Parker is great portraying the anxiety of a Mmidwife during the home birth and expresses her unspoken guilt so well in the Third Act, within the courtroom. Ellen Burstyn is superb as Martha’s overbearing mother, always making her presence felt but especially in a confrontation between her and Kirby.
Pieces of a Woman is difficult watch, but it’s one that will change you after seeing it. Screenwriter Kata Wéber has written a beautiful, heartbreaking Script that’s about surviving after the most horrifying loss. She does this by allowing us to check-in with her characters once a month, fall to spring. This shows us the changes happening within and outside them as we watch them grow in their own ways. Time heals the pain and the Film captures this process so beautifully. And Wéber reminds us that a woman is comprised of infinite pieces which only she is able to break and rebuild again.
Pieces of a Woman screens at TIFF ’20:
Sat, Sep 12 12:00pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox
Wed, Sep 16 6:00pm
Online at Bell Digital Cinema
Wed, Sep 16 9:00pm
Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView
The day finally has come and indeed it is HOUSE OF CARDS Day today! We know that you hate Spoilers but without going into too much detail, we had the pleasure of checking-out the first few episodes so far in Season 3 of Netflix‘s prized Series! The Season starts off with President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) now in office and we witness his battle for support for his America Works Campaign, which seeks to place 10 million Americans in employment. “You are entitled to nothing”, he tells America regarding the sense of entitlement Americans have to a cushy life of a post-retirement safety net. We also witness First LadyClaire‘s (Robin Wright) bid to become an Ambassador to the United Nations which certainly doesn’t come without a hitch. Much detail also is given to the comeback of Doug Stamper (played wonderfully by Michael Kelly), whom after a catastrophe, is battling his way back to recovery and Frank‘s side as his Confidant.
Although admittedly the Season is starting off a bit slower than previous, our attentions are directed to process and detail and we have the feeling something big and bad is brewing. And we can’t wait to find out what.
We chat recently with Star Molly Parker who plays Jacqueline Sharpe (whom certainly is scheming something deliciously bad), and she’s absolutely right. This Season is v. much about the unbreakable marriage between Frank and Claire. More on that here.
Netflix Canada streams Season 3 of HOUSE OF CARDS, now available! Happy streaming this weekend!
In 24 years, British Columbia-born Actress Molly Parker has established herself somewhat of a National Treasure. Her work in Independent Films like Kissed and Center of the World brought her wide acclaim north and south of the Border. She would go on to garner recognition for her phenomenal work in TV Series like Deadwood, Dexter, The Firm and more recently, House of Cards. Parker returns to Toronto for Canadian Stage‘s Production of HARPER REGAN, by Simon Stephens.
One Autumn evening, after learning of her Father’s impending death, Harper Regan walks away from her home, her Husband, her Daughter, and keeps going. She tells no one where she’s going or whether she’s coming back. She’s put everything she’s ever worked for at risk. Her journey takes her to the very borderlines of the relationship between eros and thanatos, sex and death.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Parker just before she prepped for a day of rehearsal. Bluma Appel Theatre will host for the first time ever in Canada a Play by Stephens. “It’s definitely not a return to the stage for me”, says the Actress whose piercing blue eyes both are expressive and pensive. It may have been over 18 years since she’s appeared on-stage, but she considers herself more a TV Actress now by way of a whopping 40 Indie Films made over a span of ten years.
I ask Parker what drew her most to Harper Regan. “She’s a Woman torn between Family and herself, a Wife and a Mother”, she tells me. “She’s left as Provider for her Family after some trauma takes place. With her Father dying, she can’t leave her job without losing her job. She goes anyway, even though her Father dies before she gets there.”. “Harper meets some odd people whom affect her. It really is about a lost weekend or a mini-Odyssean journey in some way. She’s an average, unremarkable Woman – every Woman in a way. She does something extraordinary and it’s the extraordinary actions of ordinary people that has me interested.”. Parker adds that although she is clear what is required to become Harper, there is something still so mysterious about her. “I really don’t know who she is.”. “The Play is funny, sweet, moving and so well-written. It operates on a deeper level that had me thinking for days”, she comments. “Hopefully we can make a version of that.”.
On some of her more complex and unconventional career choices, she is full of gratitude for the opportunities she’s been given. “I know I’ve been really lucky to be offered really challenging roles”, admits Parker. “I’m attracted a little bit to roles that are scary to me, however, it is easy to look back now and say ‘I understand what I was doing back then’, when at time I only knew what I liked and didn’t like.”.
The more I chat with Parker, watching her dig deep with reflective , thoughtful pauses, the more I realize why it is that her career continues to thrive – she lives and breathes pure artistry. “I don’t care about being likable and I’m not in it to be liked”, she reveals. “I myself want to be presented with somebody who speaks to my Humanity. I want to be entertained and come away feeling ‘Oh, that is a Woman I’d be interested in talking to. That is more interesting to me.”.
I couldn’t let our Chat end without asking about the greatest Television Series currently in existence. “I love doing House of Cards“, she tells me. “It’s like all the elements are great. The writing is terrific and challenging. We have the best Crew and I love that Character (Jacqueline Sharp). She is this combination – she’s strong, a warrior, sexual, ambitious, ruthless, afraid and vulnerable.”. Although she is tight-lipped about any more details of upcoming Season Three, she did indicate she is drawn much to a new male Character. “In many ways, this Show is about a marriage and this Season continues to explore it in-depth.”.
HARPER REGAN plays at the Bluma Appel Theatre from March 1 – 22, 2015. More on Tickets here.