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TIFF Update - Day 3: The Past, Violette, Young & Beautiful, and The Double
Diaphana Films
Emmanuelle Devos in VIOLETTE

Editor's Note: We can't all make it to the Toronto International Film Festival (which is too bad, since it's where some of the best films of the next year will be shown). But CT has the next best thing: daily updates during the Festival from our critic Ken Morefield. Stay tuned for the next week for capsule reviews and reflections on some of the world's most important movies.

The Past (Le passé), directed by Asghar Farhardi
Violette, directed by Martin Provost
Young & Beautiful (Jeune & jolie), directed by François Ozon
The Double, directed by Richard Ayoade

Day three of the festival featured two strong films and two relative disappointments.

Everything about The Double spiked my anticipation. Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska are some of my favorite actors. The material is a loose adaptation/update of a Dostoevsky novella. But the film played like a cross between Brazil, The Office, and Body Double, and it never settled on the tone it wanted to convey. The material was too heavy to play for whimsy, while the style was too hammy to be truly disturbing.

Martin Provost's Violette similarly left me confused about its message. The story of Violette Leduc provides a rich character portrait, and Emmanuelle Devos gives a great performance. But while Provost's Seraphine was a tremendous film about great art being produced at great cost, Violette's ending feels both too abrupt and too triumphal. I was left wanting more Simone de Beauvoir and less Leduc.

François Ozon's Young & Beautiful, by contrast, takes a familiar, almost clichéd story, and manages to make it seem new. After a listless first sexual experience, Isabelle (Marine Vacth) begins earning money ...

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