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Tom Sturridge (#110 of 2)

Toronto Film Review Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley

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Toronto Film Review: Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley

TIFF

Toronto Film Review: Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley

Casting attractive young stars Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth, respectively, as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley makes Mary Shelley, director Haifaa al-Mansour’s biopic of the mother of Gothic fiction, a kind of grandfather’s paradox of the modern wave of eroticized young-adult romantic fantasy, reconfiguring the ancestor to match its descendant. The film’s cleverest trick, foregrounded from the moment that a teenaged Mary meets Percy as a radical with scandalous notions of free love, is to suggest that, in YA terms, Percy himself is the monster with whom the bright, ambitious woman falls hopelessly in love. As such, Mary is only able to see his most intoxicating properties and none of his numerous dangers.

The Kids Are All Right: Orphans at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

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The Kids Are All Right: <em>Orphans</em> at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
The Kids Are All Right: <em>Orphans</em> at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

Orphans has got some major daddy issues. Lyle Kessler’s 30-year-old regional theater mainstay is the Field of Dreams of plays: Men go to laugh, whoop it up, and cry, wishing they could get a hug from Papa. The plot, as simple and primal as a fable, serves as a delivery system for sensations: Phillip and Treat have made it out of adolescence all on their own; Mom died and Dad ran off early on, and perhaps as a result, the brothers are mentally and emotionally stunted, respectively. Treat kidnaps Harold, a shady businessman, for ransom; after wriggling free, he stays on to domesticate the wild boys, but trouble follows him to his new home.