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Dear Jassi review featured. .

TIFF 2023: DEAR JASSI Is A Terrifying True Story Directed With Restraint By Tarsem Singh

Of all the movies at the Toronto International Film Festival 2023, one of the most awaited is Dear Jassi. The true story about a Canadian honor killing is the subject matter of this somber and held-back retelling by director Tarsem Singh. The film itself is a difficult watch for those who followed the real-life events when they occurred. But will be absolutely upsetting for audiences going in without much knowledge about the true story. But read my Dear Jassi review to find out why you still need to watch this movie, despite the real-life terror it may invoke.

Please note that while the movie is based on actual real-life events, my Dear Jassi review will avoid spoilers, for audiences unaware of the true story.

Dear Jassi Is Entirely Based On Real Events

Dear Jassi review Mithu. .

Without going into too many details about the true story, Dear Jassi focuses on a star-crossed love story between Canadian-born and raised Jaswinder (Pavia Sidhu) and an Indian athlete and rickshaw driver, Mithu (Yugam Sood). While visiting family in India from Canada, Jaswinder, aka Jassi, meets and falls in love with Mithu. Their long-distance love story begins with letters, a language barrier and eventually international phone conversations. However, due to their difference in status, as Jassi comes from an affluent family in Canada, while Mithu is from a lower-middle class family in India, their love story feels doomed.

Dear Jassi is a simple story told even simpler by director Tarsem Singh. The movie begins with a captivating panning of the camera from a narrator, which sets the tone for the story plays out very straightforwardly. But in its simplicity, it’s able to capture the audience’s interest and become invested in the stories of these two people. To the point where we grimace at their poor decision-making as young kids in love, but also smile at the sweeter moments. There’s beauty in Dear Jassi’s simplicity of execution. Which makes the dramatic moments have even more impact.

Director Tarsem Singh Surprises With A Movie Unlike Anything In His Filmography

Dear Jassi review dance.

Hearing that Tarsem Singh is directing an Indian love story based on real events, was surprising, to say the least. Singh is known for his surrealist and sci-fi, fantasy epics like The Cell and Immortals, so I didn’t know what to expect from Dear Jassi. But I’m glad to see that this is Singh at his most restraint. He executes the film in such a direct manner, never relying on innovative framing techniques or creative narrative devices, but just telling a linear story that gradually settles into the hearts and minds of the audience.

Even more impressive is Singh’s ability to tell this story without glorifying, demonizing or being gratuitous for shock value. He clearly respects the fact that this is a true story and that there were real people involved, so makes some artistic choices that further drive that point home. And it’s dramatically quite effective as well.

Pavia Sidhu Is A Gem. Yugam Sood Has A Silent Power.

Dear Jassi review Jassi.

The lead performances of Dear Jassi are very impressive. Pavia Sidhu is great as the bubbly and smitten Jassi who is quick to fall in love but also has the maturity to follow through when things get difficult. Similarly, Yugam Sood is great at playing the meek and shy Mithu, but when required is able to break hearts with his performance. Both actors are great together with a quiet chemistry that carries through the film.

In many ways, the story of Dear Jassi mirrors that of Romeo and Juliet, but not how one would expect. These are young lovers, who make questionable choices, act immaturely with one another and clearly may not be ready for what they perceive as love. But it’s more about the whirlwind love story of these young lovers that put them on a journey that the audience willingly joins. And the devastation that follows.

Dear Jassi Review Disclaimer About The Subject Matter

Please note that the above video may contain spoilers

I think one of the challenges that I feel compelled to discuss in this Dear Jassi review, is the subject matter itself. I think the outcome of the story may be triggering, or just flat-out difficult for many to experience. Some prior knowledge may be useful for some audiences to prepare themselves. Especially those who have difficulty with scenes of violence.

Dear Jassi premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2023.

For more TIFF 2023 reviews, subscribe to The Movie Blog and follow me on X (Twitter) at @theshahshahid for more TIFF coverage.

TIFF 2023: DEAR JASSI Is A Terrifying True Story Directed With Restraint By Tarsem Singh
  • Acting - 7.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 8/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
  • Watchability - 9/10
  • Rewatchability - 5/10
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