TIFF 2019 Day 8 roundup: American Son premieres, Bruce Springsteen’s Western Star gets standing ovation

FP Staff

Sep 13, 2019 12:45:26 IST

Kerry Washington's American Son had its premiere at the festival.  Based on the Broadway play of the same name, the film has been directed by Kenny Leon and stars Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and Eugene Lee, apart from Washington. The film follows two parents, seeking answers about their missing teenage son, who reunite at a Miami police station.

Here's what critics are saying about the film

The Guardian: "The dialogue might well have worked well enough in the theatre – well enough to make it a hit, clearly. But on the screen, it’s a deafening misfire, like the most unbearable, unwatchable daytime TV soap filled with the most awful self-conscious hamminess, parodic emoting and pointless shouting-at-each-other acting."

The Hollywood Reporter: "Adapted from the recent play of the same title, the film does little to disguise its roots. But any failure to expand into cinema's possibilities is overshadowed by the uniformly strong performances in a four-person cast led by an excellent Kerry Washington."

Variety: "Despite Leon's attempts to keep things visually lively via some busy editing, a sleek look, the odd brief, impressionistic flashback and so forth, this remains all too evidently a photographed stage play. The overly finished language and theatrical intensity levels that might be potently effective onstage lose any pretense of naturalism under the camera's unblinking gaze."

Western Stars gets standing ovation

Bruce Springsteen’s concert movie Western Stars received a standing ovation at its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, with the rockstar describing it as a “continuation of the stories” he has told throughout his career.


In Western Stars, Springsteen performs songs from his latest album of the same title, but the film also features clips from his earlier years, and wide, sweeping shots of the landscape of the American West which served as inspiration.

“It’s just a continuation of the stories I’ve been writing my whole career,” he told journalists on the red carpet before the screening. “And I hope that it’s something, that it’s inspiring and fun and people enjoy it.”

Throughout his career, the New Jersey-born singer-songwriter has repeatedly returned to the experience of American blue-collar lives for the themes of his music.

Co-director Thom Zimny described how he used the emotion of the music to frame the film’s evocative images. “I was really responding to the sonic qualities of the strings, and the sonic qualities that I found on the album I thought would translate into a great cinematic experience,” Zimny said.

The film will be released in the United States on 25 October.

Amazon nabs rights of Sound of Metal

Amazon Studios has reportedly acquired the rights of Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke and Mathieu Amalric's film Sound of Metal, which had its world premiere at the festival on 6 September. The film received rave reviews at the festival from critics.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Updated Date: Sep 13, 2019 12:45:26 IST