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TIFF Review: ‘The Fireflies are Gone’

September 11, 2018Ferdosa Abdi

One way to capture an audience's attention is to start your film with a striking first image. In The Fireflies are Gone, the film kicks off with our protagonist, Léo (Karelle Tremblay), standing alone in center of the frame, and her cool fashion immediately captures your attention and holds it for the entirety of this angst-ridden drama.

The story follows Léo, an unhappy and bored teenager in Quebec. She has unresolved feelings about her father's departure from the town and does not like her stepfather at all. She may remind some of the titular character from Lady Bird, and a few other heroines of teen dramas. Léo is unmotivated and is directionless; she is in the rebellious phase of her life, but the film doesn't go further than her general dissatisfaction.

A fascinating portrait of a misanthropic, angry and lonely girl, The Fireflies are Gone depends heavily on Tremblay's performance; however, director Sébastien Pilote seems unable to keep up. As a result, there is not much to the film to raise it to the same heights as Lady Bird, with a lack of a forward-moving narrative that will leave viewers feeling just as dissatisfied as our heroine.

The Fireflies are Gone makes its North American premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 35 min.

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