TIFF ’23: North Star

North Star, Kristin Scott Thomas’ directorial debut, takes us back home–well, to a home in England–with three sisters who are returning for their mother’s third wedding. Her first two husbands have died, both of them while serving the country in the Royal Navy, and are heroes to the three sisters.

The sisters (played by Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller and Emily Beecham) are now grown with children of their own yet they hold on to their romanticised childhoods so much that they are somewhat neglectful of their present lives, especially when it comes to romantic/familial relationships. Their mother eventually tells them to let their childhoods go and live the lives they currently have.

I think I’ve been one to romanticise the past so much that my present looks very bleak. The future, even the present, away from the safety of parents/guardians can be scary, but growing up involves shedding that to some extent and beginning to find your footing as an individual. The film tells us that instead of a blanket we hide behind when we’re unsure or afraid, our homes, names, and heritages should be anchors (our ‘North Stars’) that guide us as we find our place in the world. I like the saying that our histories tell us where we came from so we can figure out where we’re headed.

Thomas pulls from her own experience of both her father and stepfather dying in flying accidents for this film, adding a personal touch to the film.

North Star is now playing at TIFF ’23. For more information, click here.

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