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A scene from the animated film Charlotte.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

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Charlotte

Directed by Tahir Rana and Eric Warin

Written by Erik Rutherford and David Bezmozgis

Featuring the voices of Keira Knightley and Jim Broadbent

Classification N/A; 92 minutes

Opens April 22 in select theatres


Critic’s Pick


Murdered the day she arrived at Auschwitz, the German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon left behind a remarkable legacy: a trove of more than 1,000 paintings on paper representing memories and moments from her 26 years of life, sometimes referred to as the first graphic novel. The genius of Charlotte, directed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana, is to recognize that the best way to tell this story is through animation that can reproduce Salomon’s quick expressionistic gouaches as it recounts her life.

Aside from that imaginative representation of her art, the film is a rather straightforward account of her difficult family relations and ultimately futile escape from Berlin that doesn’t quite rise above the trivializing effect that animation can have. Sometimes, the animators find an expressive style to match difficult content – a suicide, a mercy killing and several sex scenes – and sometimes they just make the images of Salomon (voiced by Keira Knightley) and the refugee with whom she falls in love seem leaden in comparison with the artist’s sprightly line.

Charlotte paints in her studio in a scene from the film Charlotte.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

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