Synopsis: Simon, a Toronto high school student, has been raised by his maternal Uncle Tom since Simon's parents, Rachel and Sami, died in a car accident eight years ago. Tom, a tow truck driver, decided to move to the city into Rachel's house and assume the mortgage, something he could ill afford, largely not to disrupt Simon's life, but equally to get away from his and Rachel's father, Morris, an openly bigoted man. That upbringing has made Tom a sullen and angry man. Morris only recently passed away. Rachel and Sami met when she, a violinist, brought her instrument in to be serviced, Sami the repairman. Simon now owns his mother's expensive violin, which Tom would like to sell to help pay the mortgage and Simon's imminent university tuition. One day at school, Simon's French teacher Sabine reads a French newspaper story from several years ago as a translation exercise for the class, the story about a pregnant woman traveling to Israel, her then boyfriend who, unknown to her, planted a bomb in
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Atom Egoyan
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  3 wins & 9 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min

I remember looking out

at the two of you.

Her playing on the dock,

you watching.

I was thinking how lucky you were

to have a mom like her,

and how lucky she was

to have a boy like you.

That's what he stole from you, Simon.

That's what I can never forgive.

The thing you have to remember

about my mother

was that she was extremely trusting.

It's the only way she could have

found herself in that situation.

And that was the first thing

that must have been obvious

to the security agents.

She was completely innocent.

- You speak Hebrew?

- No.

You'll be staying in Tel Aviv?

We're going to the Holy Land.

Who's "we"?

My fianc and I.

Why isn't he traveling with you?

He had to stay for business.

You're pregnant?

People always ask

how two kids could be so different.

Your mother showed her talent

from the time she could walk,

even before.

She was always singing to herself,

around the house, in the yard.

When she picked up a violin, it was like

she already knew where to put her fingers.

Your uncle, on the other hand,

never figured out what his talent was,

except trouble and mischief.

My parents said the most ridiculous thing.

But, like, you never have proof,

and you just want some sort of proof.

That's exactly what it was like, you know.

And then it just turned out to be

really funny, so I wanted to show you guys.

I mean, he thought that his life is, like,

really dramatic...

I thought you were on crack

when you showed us that.

It's, like, why would you

waste your time videotaping...

Simon, you want to get that?

Why would Simon...

- Hi.

- That'll be $24.

Well, can't you just put it on the tab

like you usually do?

Sorry. Not anymore.

- Is it less spicy than usual?

- Why didn't he want to put it on the tab?

- Go figure.

- That's what I'm trying to do.

Well, don't.

Check the green one there.

See if it's dead. Good.

You know, if we're having problems,

you should let me know.

- Who said anything about having problems?

- With money.

With money?

What are you going to do about it?

- Help.

- How are you gonna help?

Are you gonna sell your old video games?

You know, I could get a loan or something.

Innocence is a hard thing to describe.

It's like a scent,

a thing which some people carry.

And from the moment they found the bomb,

the security officials knew

that my mother had nothing to do with it.

My father was the wanted man.

And when I heard the story

in the classroom last week,

read to us in French, it all came back.

I was raised to hate my father

for what he did to our family.

He was a monster.

But who exactly was this monster?

What would make him do that?

You have anybody meeting you in Tel Aviv?

Yes. His family.

- Whose family?

- My fianc's.

- Where does his family live?

- Over there.

- In which city?

- In Bethlehem.

- So they live in Bethlehem?

- I think so.

Although this occurred many years ago,

the story is often used to illustrate the

effectiveness of the Israeli

security measures.

She was stopped, as are all passengers

traveling on the airline,

for an interview by an agent.

Aspects of her story seemed suspicious

to this agent,

including the fact that her fianc,

the father of her unborn child,

was not traveling with her.

According to the behavioral profiles

of Israeli security,

pregnant women seldom traveled alone...

- Is this all the money you're carrying?

- Yes.

- How long you plan to stay?

- Two weeks.

- With this much money?

- His family's meeting me there.

And taking you to Bethlehem?

Where you will get married

to the man you're not traveling with?

He had business. He's meeting me there.

I just need another minute.

- I can feel the baby kicking.

- No, you can't.

Yes, I can.

There, it kicked again.

I like your imagination.

- What's wrong?

- Nothing.

Why can't you come with me?

- I told you, the ticket isn't changeable.

- Well, you changed yours.

My boss paid to change mine.

- He won't do it again.

- Why not?

It's a business decision.

- Yeah, but can't you explain?

- I've tried.

I've tried.

I don't want you to worry.

They're going to treat you like a queen.

They'll take you to the hotel.

I'll be there in two days.

- Okay.

- Okay.

I made them myself.

It was your grandmother's idea,

but she never lived to see it.

She did all the drawings.

And here's a picture of her working on them.

Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Kings.

I still have them in a drawer somewhere.

Have I ever shown them to you?

- No.

- Your uncle helped me.

Tom was always good with his hands.

That's beautiful.

Do you put it up every year?


Is this your son?

We, too, believe that Jesus was a prophet.

I think the Jews believe that, as well.

- What do the Jews believe?

- That he was a prophet.

But not the Messiah,

- which is why they killed him.

- Excuse me.

This is private property.

- The road?

- You're not on the road.

I often think about what must have been

going through my father's head

as he talked my mother into his plan.

Did he have any feelings for her?

Was it difficult for him to go through with?

Or was it possible that

the only way he could talk himself

into doing it was because he loved her?

And what about me,

the unborn child resting in her belly?

Did I ever cross his mind?

When I heard the story

in this classroom last week,

all these images came flooding back to me.

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Atom Egoyan

Atom Egoyan, CC is a Canadian director, writer, producer and former actor. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica, a film set primarily in and around the fictional Exotica strip club. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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