Susan Sarandon and Max von Sydow Oscar-worthy in ‘Emotional Arithmetic’ Updated Fri. Sep. 14 2007 2:30 PM ET

Constance Droganes

“Why did I survive?” It’s what countless Holocaust survivors have asked themselves as they struggled to piece together their shattered lives.

In the new film “Emotional Arithmetic,” the gut-wrenching movie that closes this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, director Paolo Barzman brings together three characters who survived Drancy, a transitory Nazi internment camp outside Paris during World War II.

Based upon Matt Cohen’s acclaimed novel, survivor Melanie (Susan Sarandon) is living out a peaceful life in 1985 in Quebec’s lush Eastern Townships.

She’s married, has a son (Roy Dupuis) and a grandson she adores. Despite the fact that her grumbling, good-hearted husband (Christopher Plummer) has not been faithful, she clings to her tranquil, middle-aged existence on her lovely farm and keeps the memories of her terrible past at bay.

Then one fateful day something resurfaces from that past and throws Melanie’s comfortable life completely off kilter.

After discovering that her wartime protector – a father figure named Jakob (Max von Sydow) – is still alive, she eagerly invites him to a reunion dinner at her idyllic country home. When he arrives he is not alone.

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