TIFF Update - Day 9: The Face of Love, The Liberator, and Therese

Films about obsession and revolution.
TIFF Update - Day 9: The Face of Love, The Liberator, and Therese
Image: IFC Films
Ed Harris and Annette Bening in The Face of Love

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 Face of Love, directed by Arie Posin
The Liberator, directed by Alberto Avelo
Therese, directed by Charlie Stratton

Friday featured a trio of great performances in (only) good movies.

Arie Posin shared with the audience that The Face of Love was inspired by an incident that happened when his widowed mother saw a man who looked like her deceased husband. Posin's mother didn't follow her deceased husband's double, but the film imagines Nikki (Annette Bening) doing so. She eventually finds Tom (Ed Harris) working as an art instructor at a local college. So far, so good; the situation is ripe with possibilities.

Unfortunately, the one the script chooses is a tired movie cliché: the lie at first sight. For the next hour, they develop their relationship only to have us (and Nikki) wonder if he will find out the truth (you think?) and just how much it will hurt their relationship when he does.

In order to accommodate behavior that even the script seems to realize makes no sense whatsoever, the film forces Nikki to move from grief to Vertigo-like obsession. Why? Tom is direct, accepting of emotional complications, and clearly willing to help Nikki heal if that is what she wants. What does she want? She tells another character that she "needs" him, and the film hints that her premature jettisoning of all ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Christianity Today
TIFF Update - Day 9: The Face of Love, The Liberator, and Therese
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.