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Guest of Honour 2019

Guest of Honour

Guest of Honour

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That when we ignore our own grief and deny our own transgressions, we only play ourselves for fools.

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About the Guest of Honour 💬

Jim Davis (David Thewlis) and his daughter Veronica (Laysla De Oliveira), a young high school music teacher, attempt to unravel their complicated histories and intertwined secrets in GUEST OF HONOUR, a film that weaves through time exploring perception and penance, memory and forgiveness.

A hoax instigated by an aggressive school bus driver Mike (Rossif Sutherland) goes very wrong. Accused of abusing her position of authority with 17-year-old Clive (Alexandre Bourgeois) and another student, Veronica is imprisoned. Convinced that she deserves to be punished for crimes she committed at an earlier age, Veronica rebuffs her father's attempts to secure her early release. Confused and frustrated by Veronica's intransigence, Jim's anguish begins to impinge on his job. As a food inspector, he wields great power over small, family-owned restaurants. It's a power he doesn't hesitate to use.

While preparing Jim's funeral, Veronica confides the secrets of her past to Father Greg (Luke Wilson) who may hold the final piece of this father-daughter puzzle.


GUEST OF HONOUR is an emotional investigation of the bond between a father and a daughter. Their history has been rocked by events that neither fully understands. They're both in a suspended state for much of the film, trying to understand the nature of their connection to one another. There's a very clear sense of time passing in this film. While we understand from the beginning that their physical relationship has ended with the father's death, the details of their past are revealed in a form of the psychological autopsy. The film ends with an unexpected reconciliation.

As a food inspector, Jim - played by David Thewlis - has the power to close a restaurant down, and while he uses this authority to determine other people's destinies, he desperately tries to understand his own place in the world.

His daughter, played by Laysla de Oliveira, believes that she has found a way to a strange sort of peace in her life, until that is challenged by revelations of a past she never fully understood. The character who holds the key to this past seems to be a priest, played by Luke Wilson. The biggest mystery in the film is whether the food inspector, Jim Davis, in asking for his eulogy to be performed by this particular priest, has somehow planned an emotional reconciliation he could never have achieved with his daughter in life.

As in most of my films, I'm trying to find a cinematic way of allowing the viewer to inhabit the particular world my characters are trying to navigate. What I'm interested in exploring is what might be called the 'emotional chronology' of Jim and his daughter, Veronica, a way of measuring their complex feelings. While the structure of the film is non-linear, it is actually based on a simple recounting of the scenes as they flow into the characters' minds.

While the situations specific to Jim and Veronica are extreme, the parent/child bond will be very familiar to audiences.

I think every child feels their parents made mistakes - certain ways in which the parent did not express love, or pay the right sort of attention. Those moments reverberate through our lives in sometimes painful ways.

There are at least five timelines woven through GUEST OF HONOUR, yet I wanted to create a sense that for Jim and Veronica the scenes all play in a continuous and sometimes shocking sense of the 'eternal present'. The film itself becomes a sort of machine through which the characters come to an understanding of what they mean to each other.

Guest of Honour Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Atom Egoyan

Writing Credits

Atom Egoyan


David Thewlis

Laysla De Oliveira

Isabelle Franca

Luke Wilson

Rossif Sutherland

Alexandre Bourgeois

Arsinée Khanjian

Tennille Read

Gaga Munroe

Alexander Marsh

Sochi Fried

Music by

Mychael Danna

Cinematography by

Paul Sarossy

Genre: Drama

Country: Canada

Guest of Honour Official Trailer

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