Hot Docs 2024: Our Review of ‘Echo of You’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2024, Movies by - April 29, 2024
Hot Docs 2024: Our Review of ‘Echo of You’

A film that documents life and love, Echo of You talks to seniors who have lost their lifelong partners.  Each of filmmaker Zara Zerny’s subjects has a unique story to tell about their relationship.  There are stories of love at first sight, of arguments, of infidelity.  Not every relationship was perfect.  But each and every one of these 80+ year-olds have a deep respect and affection for their dearly departed. Each have memories that come flooding back in with a sound, a smell or even while shopping for flowers.  

Most of Echo of You is a conversation. But sometimes Zerny touchingly projects images or video from the past over the faces of her elderly subjects. The juxtaposition of these moments in time is striking, as if we are privy to the inner thoughts and memories of these men and women.  Zerny’s questions are gently probing, but create a level of vulnerability and intimacy that seems unexpected from a generation that often seems so remarkably stoic.  

It’s somewhat scary to realize that many of us may be in the same shoes as we enter our later years, grappling with loss.  When we have much time on our hands (“time you’re not in need of,” one subject notes) to muse over the past, it seems lonely and somewhat sad.  Yet Zerny is careful to never let empathy for her subjects turn into pity, showing some who have found new love or connection in other places.  Echo of You creates an interesting and intimate portrait of longstanding relationships, the length of which seem almost unheard of these days.  But, it also wants to remind us of the importance of love in our lives, whether that’s with a partner, family or within ourselves.

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Hillary is a Toronto based writer, though her heart often lives in her former home of London, England. She has loved movies for as long as she can remember, though it was seeing Jurassic Park as a kid that really made it a passion. She has been writing about film since 2010 logging plenty of reviews and interviews since then, especially around festival season. She has previously covered the London Film Festival, TIFF (where she can often be found frantically running between venues) and most recently Sundance (from her couch). She is a member of the Online Association of Female Film Critics. When she’s not watching films or writing about them, she can be found at her day job as a veterinarian. Critic and vet is an odd combination, but it sure is a great conversation starter at an interview or festival!
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