TIFF 2016 Review: “Planetarium” (2016) ★★


Two sisters believe that they can communicate with dead people. True or false, the siblings are able to trick people with their abilities. That storyline sounds already intriguing, however, after sometime, you are realizing that it’s not so fascinating as you imagined as the script is written flat which takes the viewer almost nowhere. Don’t get me wrong. Rebecca Zlotowski’s film is not bad at all, but made for a very limited number of people who can appreciate her art more than I did.

Natalie Portman portrays the elder sister, Laura, while Johnny Depp’s daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, portrays the younger sister, Kate. Set in France, the film begins with Laura’s voice coming from the background saying, “you live before war, you just don’t know about it.” That again, makes the start of the film already promising, as you expect more dead people will come out, while the sisters will stun the audience with their gifts. Quickly, we find out that in fact it’s Kate who is gifted, not Laura. But all the credits go to Laura…

The storyline of PLANETARIUM could have been improved if not for the filmmaking process which has been included in the film. For instance, when the sisters meet Andre Korben, who wants to make a film about medium, falls in love with a man who is still in love with his departed wife. But when he meets her ghost, he slowly falls in loves with the character played by Laura through his wife. Sounds complicating or even confusing, but that’s the choice made by the writer, who wanted, I guess to have not only one story but a few more, to lead the sisters in any direction the writer wanted.

Performance wise, there are no complaints, while the film itself can be considered Natalie Portman’s. Lily-Rose Depp has little lines to deliver. She does a great job with the given material, however, you need to be better than she is in order to be qualified to share a scene with the great Portman. In the end, while the screenplay suffers a lot with a lack of imagination and development of the characters, PLANETARIUM is still worth seeing, but not more than once.

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