Olivia Munn stars in writer-director Justine Bateman’s feature debut, a formally daring, psychologically incisive portrait of a woman at a crossroads.

Special Presentations

Violet

Justine Bateman

Though she is best known as an actor, Justine Bateman’s feature debut as writerdirector immediately distinguishes her as an indie auteur with an arrestingly original vision. At once formally daring and psychologically incisive, Violet is a highly personal — but also profoundly relatable — portrait of a woman at a crossroads.

A Los Angeles–based film executive, Violet (Olivia Munn) has worked arduously to gain status in an industry still dominated by older white men, often at the expense of her dignity and taste. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her relationship to her boss (Dennis Boutsikaris), who exerts his power by regularly humiliating her in front of clients. Violet presents as confident, chilly, even callous, but inside her a cauldron of desperate anxieties is on the brink of boiling over.

While Munn gives a finely layered, affecting performance, offering myriad signals that only the camera can perceive, Bateman conveys much of Violet’s inner tumult through a range of fiercely cinematic techniques: first there are the rapid-fire, almost subliminal images, lightning flashes of psychic unease; then there is the onscreen cursive, superimposed subtextual missives expressing her existential anguish; finally, there’s the ever-present voice (Justin Theroux) reminding her that she should be farther ahead, that she’s unlovable, that she should accept all manner of slights and abuse, that she will always be inadequate. That voice is Violet’s invisible antagonist.

Bateman’s compassionate, tough, radical subjectivity initially suggests that Violet is afflicted with some extreme disorder. The brilliance of Violet: it is only when we come to know its heroine that we realize her inner demons are no different than ours.

DIANA SANCHEZ

Screenings

Thu Sep 09

TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Premium
2:00pm
Thu Sep 09

TIFF Digital Cinema Pro

Press
4:00pm
Thu Sep 09

VISA Skyline Drive-In at Ontario Place

Regular
8:30pm
Thu Sep 09

digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Premium
9:00pm
Fri Sep 10

Scotiabank 13

Press
9:30am
Fri Sep 10

West Island Open Air Cinema at Ontario Place

Regular
9:00pm
Tue Sep 14

digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Premium
9:00pm