Connect with us
Thunder
Image Courtesy of TIFF

Film

Thunder is an Absorbing Testament to the Joys of Experience

Carmen Jaquier’s feature directorial debut follows a young woman who begins to experience life anew after her sister’s mysterious death.

TIFF 2022: Thunder Review

After the mysterious death of her sister, a young novitiate is forced back home to help tend to the family’s fields in their remote Swiss village. However, it doesn’t take long for 17-year-old Elisabeth (Lilith Grasmug) to discover secrets surrounding her sister’s death and why everyone in town refers to her as the Devil’s spawn. In an unflinching look at 1900s Switzerland and a village overcome by their dedication to God and purity, Carmen Jaquier’s inquisitive Thunder is a rapturous feature debut that is as earnest in its pursuit of catharsis as it is accepting of its inability to be an individual in a God-fearing world.

The events that led to Elisabeth’s sister, Innocente’s death are seemingly known by all in her family’s village. After all, it’s small and word gets around quickly. Innocente seemingly strayed from God’s light and now her family won’t even utter her name believing her soul to be condemned to wander. However, Elisabeth is not content with letting her sister’s memory be forgotten. The irresistible allure of summer in the sprawling fields and luscious mountains, combined with the words left behind by Innocente in a journal, awaken something in Elisabeth that sees her experience the same feelings that consumed her sister.

Thunder
Image Courtesy of TIFF

It’s the softness of Marine Atlan’s photography in the film that pulls the audience into Thunder’s dreamlike atmosphere. Oppressive as its religious trappings may be, the Swiss valley where Elisabeth finds herself is gorgeous despite the restrictions placed upon her. As her two other younger sisters fall into place by their mother’s side, Elisabeth cannot resist the temptation of wandering the forest and embedding it within nature itself. The striking beauty of the world around her carries an ethereal quality that transforms into the awakening that brings Elisabeth closer to God but further from home.

An inescapable encounter with three childhood friends – now grown into young men – begins shaping Elisabeth’s summer even further and worrying the family that they may lose another daughter to temptation. In Jaquier’s screenplay, there’s very little room for women to exist without having to apologize or atone for their sins. What they’re apologizing for though is ultimately being born as a woman, and can be seen in multiple scenes that punish women for unavoidable circumstances or refusing to integrate “properly” within a religious society.

Thunder
Image Courtesy of TIFF

There’s a meandering nature to Jaquier’s screenplay as well that lets Elisabeth’s character thrive within the quiet and unknown. Time seemingly stops under the summer heat as the sun beats down on the fields where she rests and ponders what it means to truly love God. While there’s also a lack of subtlety with Thunder it’s also a film more preoccupied with the experience than the narrative. That experience though is one which colors the entirety of Elisabeth’s arc, moving between chilling and freeing ramifications of simply learning how to exist outside of a framework that disenfranchises and binds its purveyors.

Thunder may be Jaquier’s first feature-length film, but its confidence and willingness to linger on the moment suggest a writer-director imbued with potential. Though it never is as stirring as its imagery and a wonderful performance from Grasmug, Jaquier’s screenplay captures a very real feeling of discovery and the freedom that allows. There’s a universality to its acceptance of giving in to life’s wonders that never overshadows the otherwise narrowly-focused condemnation of how women are treated under religious rule. The notion that accepting God means giving up living life is preposterous and Thunder wisely explores that headfirst in an absorbing drama that knows it is better to feel than not.

The 47th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 8–18Find all our coverage here.

Written By

Chris is a graduate of Communications from Simon Fraser University and resides in Victoria, British Columbia. Given a pint, he will talk for days about action films, video games, and the works of John Carpenter.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook

Trending

Flo Milli Ends Performance After Fans Hurl Objects At Her, Gunna Shows Support

Celebrity

Latto Pulled Up To Angel Reese’s WNBA Debut In Style

Celebrity

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande constitute the global viewers’ attention “All About the Wicked” movie cast.

Celebrity

Who Is Christopher Lloyd’s Wife? For How Long Has He Married Lisa?

Celebrity

Who Is Gavin Rossdale’s Girlfriend? Know More About British Singer’s Girlfriend!

Celebrity

Who Is Sabrina Ionescu’s Husband? A Relationship Timeline with Hroniss Grasu!

Celebrity

Harrison Butker Controversial Graduation Speech: What Did He Say?

Celebrity

Who Is Kevin Costner’s Ex-Wife? Has He Finalized His Divorce with Christine Baumgartner?

Celebrity

Cardi B Clarifies Why She Referred to Her Met Gala Dress Designer as ‘Asian’ Instead of His Name

Celebrity

Who Is Antonio Banderas’ Girlfriend? Discover the Love Life of a Popular Spanish Filmmaker!

Celebrity

DJ Akademiks’ Instagram Account Mysteriously Disappears, Fans Craft Their Theories As To Why

Celebrity

Susan Buckner Cause of Death: Sandy’s Cheerleading Friend Patty Simcox dies at 72!

Celebrity

Who Is Adele’s Boyfriend? Explore the Renowned American Singer’s Love Life!

Celebrity

Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins’ Relationship Timeline: How Did They First Meet?

Celebrity

Who is Chris Pratt’s Wife? Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger’s Dating History!

Celebrity

Who Is The Undertaker’s Wife? Get to Know the Wife of a Legendary American Wrestler! 

Celebrity

Connect