TIFF 2016: Our Review Of ‘Burn Your Maps’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2016 by - September 14, 2016
TIFF 2016: Our Review Of ‘Burn Your Maps’

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

 

Burn Your Maps is a paint by numbers feel good movie. It yanks at your heartstrings even as you see the swerves coming. Writer/director Jordan Roberts packs his film with enough charm, engaging performances, and aspirational messages that you may not even care.

After suffering a tragedy, Alise (Vera Farmiga) and Connor’s (Marton Csokas) family is coming apart at the seams. We meet these characters amidst a marriage counseling session. The duo plays wonderfully off of each other. Farmiga comes at the material with hurricane level force while Csokas plays it tentative and buttoned up. Alise is a raw nerve while Connor’s thoughts are always half a mile down the road. Caught between the two is their son Wes (Jacob Tremblay), a young boy who believes he is…Mongolian.

While Farmiga and Csokas are great, it’s Suraj Sharma’s performance as Ismail that steals every scene. Ismail is charming, earnest, and funny — bordering on dickish. It’s a role that could have easily gone off the rails. Ismail feels like a character and not a caricature (think Dev Patel in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).

All fiction is make-believe, but some stories ask us to suspend our disbelief more than others. Burn Your Maps requires that you actively suspend your disbelief. This won’t be a problem for some and a huge issue for others. You can see the plot beats coming from miles away. Fortunately, strong performances keep the story engaging even while it’s woefully predictable.

 

 

 

This post was written by
Victor Stiff is a Toronto-based freelance writer and pop culture curator. Victor currently contributes insights, criticisms, and reviews to several online publications where he has extended coverage to the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Toronto After Dark, Toronto ComiCon, and Fan Expo Canada. Victor has a soft spot in his heart for Tim Burton movies and his two poorly behaved beagles (but not in that order).

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