#TIFF21: “THE FORGIVEN” REVIEW
By Amanda Gilmore
Wealthy couple David (Ralph Fiennes) and Jo (Jessica Chastain) are making their way to friend Richard’s (Matt Smith) lavish weekend party deep in the Moroccan Desert. On their drive, high-functioning alcoholic David hits a young Moroccan boy with his car, killing him. They arrive at the party with the boy’s dead body unsure of what to do. Soon, David finds himself with the boy’s father, on the way to the burial. While Jo and the rest of the privileged Western guests spend the weekend continuing to party, David is forced to confront his sins.
The Forgiven is a dark British Comedy with something to say. Writer-Director John Michael McDonagh creates laughs in the bleakest moments. This mostly excels due to the outstanding performance from Fiennes who delivers lines in a hilariously dry way. The Comedy has a purpose: to make the darker themes about privilege, Neocolonialism, forgiveness and judgement easier to swallow. For example, ignorant dialogue is said by Western characters about the Moroccan people. The comedy lands and the point gets across due to the powerhouse ensemble McDonagh has assembled.
The Cast is led by Fiennes who revels in playing pompous David. While David is on his journey to the burial he’s faced the truth of his sin and the pain it inflicted on the family. Chastain is great as the unhappy Jo who gets carried away at the party and commits a sin of her own. The talented Christopher Abbott, who plays flirtatious Tom, spends most of his time trying to seduce the intelligent Jo. These scenes are wonderful to watch because of the witty rhetoric and the chemistry they share. Rounding off the Cast is Smith who delights in playing lavishly wealthy Richard and Caleb Landry Jones who gives a memorable performance as Richard’s party-enthusiast boyfriend, Dally.
The Forgiven screens at TIFF ’21:
Sat, Sep 11 at 5:30 PM at Roy Thompson Hall
Sat, Sep 11 at 9 PM on Digital TIFF Bell Lightbox
Wed, Sep 15 at 7 PM on Digital TIFF Bell Lightbox
Wed, Sep 15 at 9 PM at RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place
#TIFF21: DAY THREE SIGHTINGS – JESSICA CHASTAIN, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH, DIONNE WARWICK, DENIS VILLENEUVE, REBECCA FERGUSON, HALEY LU RICHARDSON, OWEN TEAGUE + MORE
We’ve hit peak starpower at TIFF ’21 and even with Red Carpets and talent scaled back there’s still plenty enough to keep us busy!
The 2021 TIFF Tribute Gala took place earlier today at Roy Thomson Hall with this year’s Honourees taking the stage to accept their awards. Those in attendance included:
Jessica Chastain — TIFF Tribute Actor Award supported by the Tory Family
Benedict Cumberbatch — TIFF Tribute Actor Award
Denis Villeneuve — TIFF Ebert Director Award
Alanis Obomsawin — Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media supported by Participant Media
Ari Wegner — TIFF Variety Artisan Award
Danis Goulet — TIFF Emerging Talent Award presented by L’Oréal Paris and supported by MGM
Dionne Warwick — TIFF Special Tribute Award
We caught some special moments as the stars arrived and we even saw Benedict Cumberbatch and Dionne Warwick share an embrace. R&B Legend Warwick, here for Documentary DON’T MAKE ME OVER, shared that she admittedly was a little starstruck seeing Cumberbatch, whom she admires for her work on SHERLOCK, which she was obsessed with streaming during the Pandemic! Cumberbatch is receiving tons of Oscar buzz for his work in Jane Campion‘s THE POWER OF THE DOG. Review here.
Chastain and Villeneuve, both busy with Press Days today for their respective films THE FORGIVEN and DUNE, made time to walk over to the fans, snapping Selfies and signing autographs. Chastain was stunning in a colour block Moschino outfit!
The Awards air Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 7pm ET on CTV, CTV.ca and the CTV app in Canada.
Several other Premieres took place across the City including MONTANA STORY which stars Owen Teague and Haley Lu Richardson, which many are commending for its heart and compassion. We spotted the stars and Co-Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, Ubering about with the Film’s stars earlier. Review to come shortly.
One of our greatest highlights finally is a moment with Rebecca Ferguson, whom we admire so deeply. This chameleon of an Actress has won acclaim for her work on the Mission: Impossible Franchise, The White Queen and more popularly, The Greatest Showman. Oh yeah, her! Ferguson stars in DUNE, which premiered at Ontario Place‘s Cinesphere and will be busy with Villeneuve with a day of press in support of the hotly-anticipated October 22, 2021 release. Review here.
One parting note, I attended a screening of Edgar Wright‘s LAST NIGHT IN SOHO and it was incredible! My thoughts below…
How amazing Wright even threw me a “like”!
We decided to take it easy tonight, wrapping early. Tomorrow will be pretty much the last day we’ll be out snapping content with more of a focus on the Films after Monday. Who knows, I might even have a little special sidekick out with me tomorrow!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)