VIFF 2019: Lara


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      This tart-tongued movie will make you think of Isabelle Huppert at her best—especially given The Piano Teacher’s similar themes—as you watch Downfall’s Corinna Harfouch unravel as the title character. Herself a potentially great concert pianist who choked before it could happen, she’s loaded with resentment against her son (Never Look Away star Tom Schilling), also a pianist, about to make his debut as a serious composer, on the eve of her 60th birthday.

      The movie starts with a shock and then climbs down from its own ledge, building sympathy and eventually a kind of resolution for a fairly awful character. Humane and deeply thought-provoking stuff.