Alas, another Sunday spent at the local Cineplex theatre. Today, we had planned once again to see three films, but unfortunately, being hard-working young people who work full-time, we have so many things to do around the house to prepare for the upcoming week, we’ve had to cut it down to two again! Our first film of the day started promptly at 12:00: Burn Your Maps. Directed by Jordan Roberts (who also did the screenplay for the animated film Big Hero 6) and starring the effervescent Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring, Bates Motel) and the incredibly talented Jacob Tremblay (Room), it 110% blew. me. away.
Going in, I was expecting to either be thrilled with the result or absolutely appalled and I’m glad to say it was the former, all the way. My boyfriend was on the fence about seeing it at all, but I’m so glad I was able to convince him (because obviously I can’t go to a screening ALONE, what do you think I am…) because this is probably one of my top 3 movies of 2016 (and possibly of all-time, but I could just be writing the “Fantastic Movie” wave with that one… only time will tell).
Burn Your Maps tells the story of a 9-year-old boy formerly named Wes, but who has now chosen a Mongolian name that I can’t remember and can’t find anywhere within the depths of the Internet. Wes, who is grieving alongside his entire family for his baby sister who passed away 10 months prior, has decided that America is not where he belongs – America is not his home. Rather, he belongs in Mongolia herding goats. It sounds super-ridiculous, that I will agree with you on, but man… it was a fantastic film. It was just the right amount of weird with a perfect balance between ‘hilarious’ and ‘heartbreaking.’ Tremblay is one of my favourite up and coming actors and BY FAR my favourite child actor… he is fantastic and this film proves that Room was no one-off, he really is that talented. He makes the film alongside his understanding and ever-supportive mother, played by Vera Farmiga. I love Farmiga in everything I’ve seen her in and this was truly no exception. I really want to say that she is the perfect actress (and also, maybe kinda sorta my spirit animal). I love her.
The whole cast is fantastic, including Marton Csokas, who plays the stern father of Wes who is struggling to keep himself together and feeling ripped apart by grief in silence. I’ve seen a review or two now that say his acting is wooden and stiff, but I honestly take that as just part of his character. If it’s an acting flaw, it fits. Suraj Sharma plays Farmiga’s ESL student from India who strikes a bond with Wes through their shared sense of displacement where they’re “supposed” to belong.
Burn Your Maps is an extremely well-written, well-acted, well-directed piece of film. It’s a film that allows you to lose your sense of time, it was so well-paced. A shining beacon of light that I wished I’d have seen AFTER I saw the next film, but that’s another story for the next review…