In Ina Weisse’s The Audition greatness is a goal that should be continually strived for. If you are not enduring pain to reach your goals, then you simply aren’t trying hard enough. At least that is the viewpoint instilled in violin teacher Anna (Nina Hoss) at an early age.

When Anna sees raw talent in young Alexander (Ilja Monti), she takes him under her wing to prepare him for her school’s prestigious entrance audition. Anna’s devotion to her new pupil, and a not so subtle affair with another teacher, causes a riff in her relationship with both her husband Philippe (Simon Abkarian), a violin maker, and their son Jonas (Serafin Mishiev).

Weisse’s film uses music to examine the abusive cycle that comes with the quest for perfection. Anna wants everyone to live up to her high standards while incapable of adhering to them herself. Though Nina Hoss delivers a stirring performance, the film’s message gets tangled in its own messy notes. On one hand the film is an interesting character study on how trauma shapes a person, however, it never holds its protagonist accountable for her actions. As a result, The Audition does not leave viewers on a high note.

Sunday, September 08, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 3:15 PM
Tuesday, September 10, Scotiabank, 5:45pm
Friday, September 13, Scotiabank 9, 5:30pm