The Genius and the Opera Singer

THE GENIUS AND THE OPERA SINGER (Vanessa Stockley, UK). 70 minutes.Rating: NN Middle-aged Jessica and her elderly mother, Ruth, have lived in.


THE GENIUS AND THE OPERA SINGER (Vanessa Stockley, UK). 70 minutes.Rating: NN


Middle-aged Jessica and her elderly mother, Ruth, have lived in the same Greenwich Village apartment for Jessica’s entire life. Ruth – the opera singer of the title – was declared incompetent and institutionalized for a year, but Jessica fought to bring her back home. 

But the longer Vanessa Stockley‘s excruciating documentary goes on, the less we understand why the megalomaniacal Jessica bothered. She clearly loathes her mother and wants only to harangue her about a lifetime of (possibly imagined) slights and insults.

Some documentaries illuminate awful situations, while others are content to exploit them. This one lands in the latter category, gawking at its freak show without ever offering insight or context. It’s like watching court exhibits for a depraved indifference trial.

Apr 30, 6 pm Scotiabank 4 May 1, 3:30 pm, TIFF 3

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