Sean comes to a small East Coast town to live with his father from a much larger city, bringing with him a big city aesthetic in the form of “goth” clothing, dyed black hair, black nail polish and facial piercings. Despite all outward appearances, Sean is an average teenager. He likes girls, is wrought with emotion, dresses weird and is bullied by the “cooler” kids for being different. When an online journal entry ““ a therapeutic creative writing exercise ““ is discovered by his community, an investigation begins into Sean’s alleged “plan” to kill his fellow students. His arrest and subsequent trial challenge Sean and his family, his friends and his community to look at themselves more closely.
Writer/director Jason Buxton has created a stark look at the post-Columbine reality. Set in no specific town or place, the film has a very unfortunate “anywhere” quality to it that should severely unsettle the viewer. Watching Sean’s struggles, both pre- and post-incident, forces the viewer to ask “what would I do?” As a parent, would you condemn you own child, just because everyone else seems to feel he’s guilty? As a teenager, would you stand up for yourself and speak out against injustice? As a community, would you blindly believe what people say about someone simply because they choose to dress and behave differently from you? These are essential and important questions that are becoming increasingly relevant in our time.
A commanding performance is put in by Connor Jessup, who is definitely Canadian talent to watch, as well as the equally talented Michael Buie as Sean’s father.
Is Blackbird Essential TIFF Viewing?
Blackbird shines a blinding light on some very important issues in our world today. While this film is certainly for parents and youth, it is really for anyone, since the implications are universal. Blackbird will be released later this year, but this is definitely essential TIFF viewing.
Blackbird Screening Times
- Sunday, September 9 at TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 at 9:45 PM, and
- Monday, September 10 at Jackman Hall (AGO) at 1:00 PM
More About This Movie
Blackbird Production Gallery
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- Review: Blackbird – May 10, 2013