Hello Most Metro!
Today was my fullest day so far. I’m so glad I had an auxiliary battery for my phone.
MARRIAGE STORY was my first film of the day. “Academy Award nominee Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up, and a family staying together, stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, and co-stars Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta.” (taken from TIFF catalog) Within the first five minutes of this film, I wrote “It’s incredible” in my notes. The script is fantastic, the performances are right on, and material is taxingly honest, and the supporting cast are lovely additions to the mix. At one point, I felt like “this is getting to be too long” (a feeling I’ve had numerous times this year), but then I reconciled it by thinking “getting a divorce is tedious and insufferable – so maybe that’s the point…perhaps it suits the material to be a little too drawn out. In a very clever marketing strategy, there are actually 2 trailers for MARRIAGE STORY…watch both in one sitting below.
After my first screening, I went to a delightful hour+ event in which Allison Janney was interviewed about her career – along with clips that illustrated some of her cinematic touchstones. This was a pretty hot ticket, and Allison’s mother Macy was the person who scored the ticket for me. In the coming days, I believe that TIFF will post this interview on-line, and I’ll make sure to share the link with you if I find it. Allison is funny, smart, gracious and a great storyteller – it was a delight to hear some of her personal history.
After listening to Allison, I got to see her new film – BAD EDUCATION. “Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, and Ray Romano star in this fact-based dramedy directed by Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds), about an infamous school-larceny scandal that rocked Long Island in the early aughts.” (taken from TIFF catalog) This film is pretty terrific (though I questioned some of the motivation for the queer content)! The story’s upsetting subject matter is handled in such an interesting fashion and Jackman’s performance is unlike any I’ve seen him give before. Janney is also in top form, and I think this film will get snatched up in no time. Below is the image being used with this film…there is no trailer yet.
THE TRUTH – with two leading ladies I adore – was next on my list. “Acclaimed director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s (Shoplifters, Like Father, Like Son) first film made outside his native Japan stars Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche as a mother and daughter in the film industry whose professional collaboration triggers long-buried resentments.” (taken from TIFF catalog) My “review” of this film might be a little unfair because I was a bit tired when I walked into this screening. The first half hour was pretty wonderful, but then my eyes got very heavy and I fought to stay awake. Ultimately, I kept feeling like I wanted the pace to pick up – but maybe that was just my exhaustion speaking…or maybe it was a little too slow. At the end of the day, I think it’s a nice film…but it won’t get the roll-out that SHOPLIFTERS did for this director.
TWO POPES was my last film of the day. Fernando Meirelles and Jonathan Pryce and others from the team introduced the film, and Meirelles said that the reason he likes Pope Francis so much is because he wants to build bridges when so many leaders want to build walls. Of course that deservedly got a huge round of applause. “In 2013, progressive incoming Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) and conservative outgoing Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) debate the best path forward for the Catholic Church, in this surprisingly funny chamber piece from Oscar-nominated director Fernando Meirelles (City of God).” (taken from TIFF catalog) That description kinda sums up the film…but not really. It’s not just a chamber piece, it’s a pretty big, fully realized film with two incredible central performances. I’m not a Catholic, thus I can never understand the ways of the church, but I’ve always felt like the regality surrounding the papacy seems to contradict some of the church’s messaging…and it appears that Pope Francis holds a similar sentiment. This film made me appreciate him more. Through flashbacks and archival footage, we get a much bigger picture than just two Popes chatting. Though the film loses a little steam in its third act, I think audiences will nonetheless adore it. I hope Netflix does a theatrical release – more than just a couple cinemas. (I personally know many people who don’t subscribe to Netflix who would love to see this movie.)
It’s time to call it a night. Four more films are on the docket for tomorrow.
Thanks for checking in!