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TIFF Review: ‘Clara’

September 10, 2018Sherry Li

Clara, from director and writer Akash Sherman, is a story of one man's journey through his grief as he obsessively tries to find evidence of life outside of earth.

Patrick J. Adams stars as Dr. Isaac Bruno, an astronomer who, after losing his teaching job and access to university resources, takes on Clara (Troian Bellisario) as a research assistant. Isaac, who is cynical, logical and only focused on hard data and facts, finds himself to be seemingly incompatible with Clara's wayfarer lifestyle, along with her free-spirited and intuition-driven ideology. Yet, it's their friendship and blossoming relationship that leads to Isaac finding his own way as we watch him climb up from rock bottom.

Though not perfect, Sherman's first narrative feature is profound and beautiful. The storyline uses Clara as a plot device, and though she is given plenty of time to be fleshed out, her existence seems to only be for Isaac Bruno's character development. Still, the overall story, the directing, and the visuals are all well put together and are effective at telling a thought-provoking and compelling film which will hopefully leave viewers contemplating their own outlook towards life.

Clara makes its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 46 min.

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