Director: Yasmin Ahmad
Year: 2009
Rating: 7.5
Country: Malaysia

Talentime is the latest film from one of my favorite directors, Yasmin Ahmad from Malaysia. As in her previous films that comprise the Orked trilogy, Yasmin explores the themes closest to her heart of faith, tolerance, family and living in a multi-cultural society. The film is less moody and more narrative than her previous efforts as she widens her net and follows three families - a mixed Malaysian family that is very much like the one in Orked, an Indian family composed of a widow and her two children and another Malay family of a dying mother and her son. The thread that brings them together is a Talentime - a high school talent show in which a child from each of the three families are involved. The film initially appears to be a lighthearted comedy but as the lives of these families spill over and interact, it takes on a powerfully emotional resonance that is at times wrenching. There are a few false notes here - primarily in the form of an English grandmother - and the directing at times felt lax - but in the end her humanistic voice and a simple plea to love each other is what will be remembered.

Written up 03/2009