Beauty and trauma collide in Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan’s Seven Veils, which made its world premiere on the 2023 version of the Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Amanda Seyfried, the movie marks a reunion between her and Egoyan, nearly 15 years since their first collaboration, Chloe. In reality, Chloe and Seven Veils make for an fascinating double characteristic: shot and set in Toronto, each movies look at the darkish recesses of human psychology and see Seyfried enjoying girls swimsuit navigating hidden truths about themselves.
In Seven Veils, Seyfried is Jeanine, a theater director who has been employed to remount a manufacturing of Salome for the famend Canadian Opera Company to honor the loss of life of its creator, Charlie (who was as soon as Jeanine’s mentor and extra). Management desires the manufacturing to be precisely as Charlie initially directed it, however Jeanine is adamant in making modifications which can be, as she places it, “small however significant.” This naturally places her at odds with everybody concerned within the manufacturing, together with solid and crew. To make matter worse, pressures at work compound with stresses at dwelling, as Jeanine suspects her husband of getting an affair together with her mom’s caregiver.
There’s additionally different drama behind the scenes: props supervisor Clea (Rebecca Liddiard) juggles satisfying Jeanine’s directorial whims whereas additionally looking for a technique to get her girlfriend Rachel (Vinessa Antoine), who’s the understudy for Salome, onstage for a once-in-a-lifetime efficiency. Luke (Douglas Smith), one other understudy and previous good friend of Jeanine, struggles to mood his rising emotions for his director (which can or is probably not reciprocated). And on prime of all that, a sexual assault incident threatens the remount’s opening night time.
When Art Imitates Life
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If the plot abstract for Seven Veils feels like there’s loads occurring, that is as a result of, generally, it seems like there’s. However, on a elementary stage, Egoyan is intelligent in utilizing the remount of Salome as a approach of forcing Jeanine to confront her personal previous traumas. In a darkish and chilling occasion of artwork imitating life, loads of the visible cues employed in Charlie’s authentic manufacturing had been truly taken from movies Jeanine’s father took of her in her childhood (movies that may very well be seen as beginner makes an attempt at inventive expression, however are nonetheless creepy).
In this manner, the rehearsals really feel like Jeanine’s psyche spilled onstage. Production designer Philip Barker makes the house appear like one thing straight out of a silent period horror movie, and cinematographer Paul Sarossy’s digital camera usually feels prefer it’s stalking Jeanine via every scene. What’s extra, cameras and lenses are a vital motif within the movie; whether or not it is Jeanine’s childhood movies, the video diary she retains all through rehearsal, or her frequent video calls together with her mom and husband, seeing and being seen underscore how Jeanine is each topic and creator, of the opera and the movie itself, two warring ideas that she should someway reconcile.
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At instances, Seven Veils asks for — certainly, coerces — endurance from us because it takes its time filling within the blanks. Though it seems like a crawl in direction of solutions to questions which may come up, what retains issues fascinating is, after all, Seyfried’s efficiency. Though Jeanine tries to maintain her demons in examine, the opera can not help however reveal and deepen the cracks in her facade, unlocking recollections she had both forcibly tucked away or initially misunderstood as one thing else, and Seyfried is classy in strolling the tightrope between impassioned artist and woman-on-the-verge.
Seyfried’s work in Chloe was arguably a turning level in her profession, permitting her to shed the essential blonde, girl-next-door vibe she had (unintentionally) beforehand acquired via her outstanding roles in Mean Girls and Mamma Mia! In Atom Egoyan’s Chloe, nonetheless, the actress showcased her means to deal with darker, extra cerebral materials. Now, Seven Veils seems like an extension of that movie, with Seyfried demonstrating an emotional malleability that solely solidifies the reality that she is, the truth is, one of the crucial fascinating actors working at this time.
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Subplots That Feel Disconnected
The draw back to Seyfried being essentially the most engrossing facet of Seven Veils is that it is a lot tougher to connect with the varied subplots. Though Liddiard, Antoine, and Smith are nice to observe and primarily bolster Jeanine’s narrative because the opera’s director, serving to the theater firm really feel like a residing organism, their storylines really feel much less realized by comparability. Clea’s arc, specifically, does not fairly stick its touchdown, and, with out spoiling a lot, though a case may very well be made about her story supporting the movie’s total exploration of abuse of energy and the disproportionate abuse girls swimsuit expertise within the workforce, it is finally too disconnected and subsequently ineffective.
Nevertheless, it is all the time nice to see Egoyan’s important eye again on the large display. Seven Veils might frustrate some viewers, but it surely’s a movie that makes you assume, highlights the artwork of creation, and emphasizes the necessity for each.
For extra data on Seven Veils and the Toronto International Film Festival, go to the TIFF web site.