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TIFF 2015 Review: The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room offers a rare glimpse into the emotional life of people displaced by civil war. Bosnian actor Jasmin Geljo plays a fictionalised version of himself. Years after moving to Toronto he still struggles to find acting work and is often typecast to play a criminal on account of his imposing stature and accent. Like the film’s title would suggest, he exists in a kind of limbo between Bosnia and Toronto, past and present. All the while waiting for his life to progress in his new home.

Anchoring him to unpleasant memories of the war are his semi-estranged daughter who cannot bring herself to call or Skype her grandparents (presumably because this dredges up painful memories of the war) and his ex-wife who is dying. In his new home he has a new, younger wife and a young son. But neither seem to really get him. An example of this is one scene where he tries to regale his son and his friends about a gory event that took place while he was working as a security guard. Thinking this is the kind of morbid tale young boys love he is instead interrupted numerous times with questions until finally they lose interest and walk away.

Geljo delivers a powerful performance studded with dark humour. When he is speaking he says a lot but when he just staring ahead into the camera he manages to say even more.

[star v=3]

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