TIFF 15 Review: “Fire Song” (2015)


When Shane’s sister all of a sudden commits suicide, he finds himself at a crossroads; whether to support his family, to mourn his sister, or fix his personal life, which is not that simple for Anishnabe teenager. Even though he seems to be in love with Tara (Mary Galloway), our hero tries to hide from his family and girlfriend that he is gay. But when the time comes to face the fact, nothing will ever be the same….

When FIRE SONG begins we find Shane trying to comfort his mother due to the loss of her daughter, his sister. He asks her to go to requiem with him, but not only does she refuse to go out, but stays in the room like if it was the last place she would ever wanted to stay. Despite Shane being heartbroken, he tries to find peace in his own life. But the aftermath of his sister’s suicide impacts him so strongly that he struggles to support his family.

As the film progresses, we find Shane is about to be forced to choose between his own family’s home and his own future that might await him in Toronto.  As his relationship is getting more complicated with his girlfriend, Tara, he still tries to protect her from the truth of being gay and dating with his best friend, David (Harley Legarde).  Meantime, we see how hard it is for Jackie (Jennifer Podemski) to cope from the loss of her daughter. She also loses the connection with her son, who is on his way to damage his life….

FIRE SONG is Adam Garnet Jones’s first feature film which well examines the loss, relationships and struggle in one film. The way he’s written Shane’s character is quite impressive where we learn something new from him all the time. Despite the reason why Shane’s sister had to commit suicide is not mentioned, there’s always a feeling that the family might know something we are not aware of. Jackie, played by Jennifer Podemski, is devastated by the loss. She deliberately rejects Shane’s attempt to somehow ease her pain. However, even though we find her keeping distance from her son who also has personal issues, we will find Jackie face the moment of truth. The moment, when she realizes how important it is not to lose the bond with her son if she does not want to lose him the way she lost her daughter.

In conclusion, FIRE SONG is a well-directed movie with solid performances from the entire cast. It’s quite a sad story of how to cope with loss without losing those you’re still having beside you. It’s a movie about learning, acceptance and willingness to not lose yourself when there are million reasons for that.

SUN SEP 13, 4:30 PM
Scotiabank Theatre Scotiabank 14
TUE SEP 15, 9:30 PM
Scotiabank Theatre Scotiabank 8
SUN SEP 20, 10:15 AM
Scotiabank Theatre Scotiabank 10

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