Penguin Bloom: Glendyn Ivin’s Drama, Starring Naomi Watts (Toronto Fest 2020)

Naomi Watts in ‘Penguin Bloom,’

Penguin Bloom

Hugh Stewart
Glendyn Ivin’s Penguin Bloom, an acquisition title that stars Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Fest, aiming at not only finding a distributor but also becoming a part of a most unusual awards season.
The film stars Watts as the Bloom family matriarch who is partially paralyzed in a freak accident.
She subsequently bonds with a wounded magpie that one of her young sons (Griffin Murray-Johnson) brings home and nicknames ‘Penguin.’The low-budget Australian indie will be lucky to succeed at just the former, not because it isn’t perfectly sweet and well-acted, but because it is unclear who the audience would be for a movie that might have been pitched as Fly Away Home meets The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Plenty of talented performers have been Oscar-nominated, and not infrequently won, for playing characters who are immobilized to one degree or another by injury or illness — from Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything.

Watts herself was previously nominated for playing a woman who was seriously injured while on a vacation with her young family, eight years ago for The Impossible.