Talentime

Reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential.

With:
With: Pamela Chong Ven-teen, Mahesh Jugal Kishor, Mohammed Redzuan Adamshah, Jaclyn Victor.

Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its religious, racial and social complexities. Already the subject of a 2006 Tokyo fest retro, Ahmad has received similar tributes — with “Talentime” headlining — across the fest circuit this year. But even within Southeast Asia, the pic underperformed in commercial venues.

Love blossoms (but drama plods) as comely singer Meleur (Pamela Chong Ven-teen) falls for mute student Mahesh (Mahesh Jugal Kishor), who’s assigned to drive her to rehearsals. Whether it be Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” or Pete Teo’s cute love songs, music provides a much-needed boost to Ahmad’s material, but unscored sections are marked by awkward silences, with clumsy comedy relief. Thesps utter jokes and straight lines with little sense of their meaning, as if the dialogue had been rehearsed to death. Snappier editing could get the pic up on its feet.

Talentime

Malaysia

Production: A Chilli Pepper Films production. (International sales: Primeworks Studios, Selangor, Malaysia.) Produced by Mohammad Effendy Harjoh. Executive producers, Ahmad Puad Onah, Faszil Manap. Directed, written by Yasmin Ahmad.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Low Soon-keong; editors, Raja Affandy, Raja Jamaluddin; music, Pete Teo; production designer, Wong Voon-leong. Reviewed at Tokyo Film Festival (Winds of Asia), Oct. 20, 2009. (Also in Pusan Film Festival -- Winds of Asia.) Malay, English, Tamil dialogue. Running time: 115 MIN.

With: With: Pamela Chong Ven-teen, Mahesh Jugal Kishor, Mohammed Redzuan Adamshah, Jaclyn Victor.

More Film

  • Anita Hill

    Anita Hill Chairs Hollywood Anti-Sexual Harassment Commission Formed by Top Execs

    Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its […]

  • Warren Beatty

    Arnon Milchan Sues Warren Beatty Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its […]

  • Oscar Isaac Addams Family

    Oscar Isaac in Talks to Voice Gomez Addams in Animated 'Addams Family' Movie

    Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its […]

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    Publicists for Jennifer Lawrence, Daisy Ridley, Amy Adams Form New Firm

    Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its […]

  • Hannah Marks Liana Liberato

    Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato to Star in High School Comedy 'Banana Split'

    Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its […]

  • NOR_D01_053017_9621_R2 – L-R: Tom Hanks (Ben

    Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' to Open Palm Springs Film Festival

    Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its […]

  • Willa Fitzgerald

    'The Goldfinch' Movie Adaptation Casts Willa Fitzgerald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Somewhere between understated and underdeveloped, “Talentime,” the swan song of Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July at age 51, reveals a writer-director granted insufficient time to reach her full potential. The story of two school talent-show contestants and their extended families, this slight pic offers a cross-section of contempo Malaysian life with hints of its […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content