TIFF Film Review: “Una”

It’s a painful story of a girl caught between love and hate for the man who raped her when she was thirteen. Yikes.una-blackbird-1229166-rooney-mara

This thing’s an hour and a half, to give you a frame of reference; just ninety minutes of painful-to-watch Stockholm Syndrome-esque abuse absorbed by this girl, Una, who then dishes out the complementary kind of heartless treatment to the good men in her life that only a broken woman can. Ben Mendelsohn plays the man responsible for the crime, Ray, and Rooney Mara plays the title character herself, Una. They both deliver very, very strong performances.

Here’s the snaggle(s) in this movie’s storytelling cloth: firstly, the pacing is a bit uneven. Shots linger unnecessarily, things drag a bit throughout and the overall pacing of this movie is designed to stretch the thing out juuuuust enough for feature-length quantification. And the other major, gaping issue: there’s no ending.

After an hour and a half of harrowing drama, tension thick enough to be cut through with a butter knife and audience emotional investment at its peak, the movie just drops off the face of the earth and never ends.


I’m sick of hearing directors and writers claim it’s for “interpretive purposes.” No, it’s lazy storytelling, plain and simple. Una ends unresolved and that alone sours an otherwise heavy, content-filled hour and a half of stellar drama.


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