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TIFF 2019 Review: The Audition

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Despite the reservations of her colleagues, a high school violin teacher decides to risk her reputation to bring forth the remarkable talent of a student.

A trio of music academics are holding admission auditions for their high school and because of the adamant recommendation of a violin teacher a student is accepted with the caveat that she will shape the raw talent into a musical virtuoso.  Despite having an adoring and compassionate husband, the violin teacher is having an affair with a colleague who wants her to join his quintet; then there is also the issue about her son, a musical protégé growing more distant as time goes by.

A clever way of revealing the childhood of the main character occurs when her father does something cruel to his grandson.  It is a relief that there are no domestic shouting matches and violent tendencies are hinted at and are paid off with a shocking result.  Nina Ross portrays the violin teacher with a cold idiosyncratic efficient while Simon Abkarian plays her opposite-minded spouse who emits warmth and compassion; both of the roles are believable which makes the performance of Ross even more disturbing.

A tragic and malicious incident makes one wonder if the action is endorsed or simply treated as a harsh truth.  The overriding question is, ‘Does one have to be ruthless in order to obtain greatness?’ A troubling thought.  Editorially there is a fragmented quality to the storytelling caused by transitional scenes and if they were removed the linear structure would flow better.  There are also multiple storylines going on in The Audition which at times seems more random than driving the narrative.

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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