REVIEW: Cinema Axis – NXNE Festival Review (Toronto)
Edith (Leah Fay Goldstein) is an actress who believes she is destined for great things. However, her career has dictated otherwise. In the four years she has dedicated herself to her craft, she has yet to land a film role of any real merit. With only one film under her belt – a forgettable low budget drama that makes most student films seem like a masterpiece – the best Edith’s agent can do is send her on auditions for films with schlocky titles such as “Blood Sausage.” Adding to her misery is the fact that all of her friends in the industry are moving forward with their careers, even Edith’s former beau Ben, who at age 31 is now diving into the acting realm, is getting callbacks.
The creative process, and the adversities that come with it, have long been a staple in independent cinema. Often the struggling artist is portrayed as either a talented individual looking for their big break, or as the egotistical genius who is misunderstood by the world at large. Directors Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson opt to take a detour from these conventions by turning Diamond Tongues’ focus towards the dangerous mix of ambition and narcissism that seems to reside within the artistically inclined. Edith could easily be the poster child for this social media obsessed entitlement generation. Craving constant praise, without truly putting in the work needed, she expects greatness to fall into her lap.
Embarrassed by the aimless road her life is on, Edith succumbs to jealous actions and attempts to sabotage her friends. What makes Edith so compelling is that she is a horrible person and does not realize it. Despite her selfish ways, Moondi and Robertson make the character engaging enough that we cannot resist following Edith on her journey.
Edith’s plight might have the familiarity in tone of other twenty-something struggling artist tales, but Diamonds Tongues’ wit is far more biting. The film does not mask Edith’s flaws in flights of whimsy, but rather takes a sober gaze at the mistakes she, and those in her generation, are routinely making. The robust and spry script only enhances this further by providing a wonderful mixture of humour and sadness. As delightful as the script may be, it is the strong performance by Leah Fay Goldstein that truly binds the film together. Goldstein displays the confidence of an actress who knows how to tap into the nuances that makes Edith so riveting.
Surrounded by a stellar soundtrack – that features musicians such as Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, who also produces the film, Emily Haines, Sunset Rubdown, GRFNKL, and Handsome Furs to name a few – Diamond Tongues effortlessly shines brightly. The film taps into a generation’s sense of entitlement in a way few films have before, while simultaneously capturing the ambition, isolation, and selfishness that often comes with artistic passion. Moondi and Robertson craft a film that is sharp, honest, and a must-see.
– Courtney Small
Source: Cinema Axis