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In Atom Egoyan's disconcerting and unpredictable Adoration, a young man's attempt to make sense of himself and his family's history turns strange when his re-imagined version of that history becomes a combustible topic for online chatter.
Under the violin swells of Mychael Danna's enveloping score, Egoyan weaves the personal, the political, and the technological into an immense yet intimate comment on our troubled times. In doing so, he stumbles back into relevance again.
Egoyan's pacing is careful, deliberate, as it must be, because he's pulling together a complex tale, playing with time to reveal details piece by piece.
Watching Adoration is like juggling three tennis balls, a porcupine, and a graduate thesis, but eventually it finds a unifying theme, that of tolerance melting away racial and intergenerational hatreds.
Christian Science Monitor:
Because of the allegorical nature of its people, "Adoration" never fully brings them to life - especially, and most crucially, Simon and Sabine. They are mouthpieces before they are human beings.
Egoyan is nothing if not low key; and as dramatic as passages are here, he keeps the tone under control and the story believable.
Atom Egoyan's latest glum puzzle is a meditation on post-9/11 hysteria, but it's too much 'What's the meaning of terrorism?' cud chewing too late.
After a promising start, this ambitious but ultimately clunky and unwieldy movie dissolves into a pile of ideas in dire need of dramatization.
Although the intent is clearly to keep us off balance as to what's real, it also unbalances the movie, hampering its ability to build suspense or involve us in its characters.
New York Post:
Adoration, which hinges on a number of coincidences, contains some really fine performances, including a surprising one from Canadian utility player Scott Speedman as the student's rough-hewn uncle and guardian.
New York Observer:
As for Mr. Egoyan, he remains an auteur at the highest level of cinematic creation, and even one of his lesser films, like Adoration, deserves to be seen.
A gimmicky, sad and beautifully acted mystery that keeps its secrets even when it loses its grasp of the logical.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Whatever mystery is here is not a function of the story but of how Egoyan chooses to tell the story. Once all is revealed, the reaction is, 'So what?'
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Bostick turns in a quietly mesmerizing performance, capturing Simon's sense of loss without slipping into pathos.
Globe and Mail:
Though the plot borders on the abstruse, it's also the director's best film in a decade.
Globe and Mail:
Once again, Egoyan has created a film that descends from ideas rather than experience, driven by theme rather than character, and he does both very well.
Egoyan draws strong performances from the entire cast, including a solid performance from Scott Speedman, sporting a heavy beard, as the uncle raising the orphaned Simon, a sort of everyman embodying Western liberalism who is flawed by his own insularity.
The time-jumping narrative and self-consciously somnambulant mood undermine the writer-director's zeitgeist-inspired thesis.
Unfortunately the elaborately unspooled plot delivering these ideas in dramatic form is so scraggy and effortful it defeats the cast and rather compromises our involvement.
Moody, provocative and intellectually ambitious, Adoration is primed to elicit impassioned discussion among audiences.
A fascinating muddle. Folding all sorts of post-9/11 questions into a very Egoyanesque miasma of elegantly fractured chronology and provocative ideas.
A movie considerably more absorbing to talk, write, and think about afterward than it is to actually watch.
Adoration is a delicate rumination on how innocence and truth evolve in the aftermath of catastrophe, as people stake emotional ownership in tragedy.