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#TIFF18 Review: Firecrackers

September 7, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) and Chantal (Karena Evans) are best friends who are both trapped in the small Ontario town where they grew up, and they are trying to save up enough money so that they can hitch a ride to New York. But their plans to escape are threatened following a bad encounter with Chantal’s possessive ex-boyfriend Kyle (Dylan Mask), which leads to a series of rash decisions.

Expanding her 2013 short film, which also played at the festival, Firecrackers is the feature debut of young writer-director Jasmin Mozaffari, a Ryerson graduate who crafts a compelling low-key character drama that at times recalls the work of Andrea Arnold. While the story of wanting to leave a small town might seem familiar, Firecrackers renders it from a uniquely feminine perspective, and in doing so touches on timely themes of sexual abuse, female independence, and trying to break the cycles of poverty and all the problems that come with it.

Carried by naturalistic work from its mostly young cast, including a breakout performance from child actor Callum Thompson as Lou’s gender-questioning little brother, Firecrackers is an engaging and assured feature debut that serves as a promising calling card for all involved.

Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) and Chantal (Karena Evans) in Firecrackers

Public Screenings:

Saturday, September 8th – 6:45 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

Monday, September 10th – 4:30 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6th to 16th.

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