Today was a rough start. One of the boys at IndieWire threw a little party last night, and I got in very, very late…so getting out of bed at 6:30 was a challenge. But I made it…and managed to squeeze in a nice nap mid day. So everything worked out fine.
First off, I saw THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY, directed by Matthew Brown. This is a film about an Indian mathematician whose theories revolutionized his field…and the his hardships in having them heard due to racial tensions in England. The movie stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons, and this is certainly Patel’s most subtle and best role since SLUMDOG. Though I found some material a little hokey, it’s ultimately a solid period piece that will be a crowd-pleaser. (There is not yet a trailer for this film.)
ROOM, directed by L Abrahamson is fantastic. This is the story of a young woman and her son who are being held captive in a small garden shack. The little boy turns 5 early in the film, and the “Room,” his mother and the man who visits regularly (their captor) are the only things the boy knows of the world. Though they have television, he’s been raised to believe that everything there is make-believe. I had quite a response to this film. My entire body was trembling during the scene when the boy’s mother created a plan for the boy to escape. I haven’t had this type of bodily response to a film in a long, long time. (I’m not going to tell you anything more about the plot. Just trust me…it’s great.)
I SMILE BACK, directed by Adam Salky, was next on the list. Sarah Silverman is getting a lot of praise for this brave, raw performance – and it’s well-deserved. This is the story of a married mother of two who is battling mental illness and substance abuse. It’s a gritty film, and the story is actually simple. Though performances are strong across the board, and I think the film is well done, there was something keeping me from really connecting.
My final film of the day was MISS SHARON JONES!, directed by Barbara Kopple. This documentary is about the legendary singer and her battle with Cancer. Kopple is one of a handful of directors who had a film premiere at the very first Toronto Film Fest (then known as “The Festival of Festivals”) – the film was HARLAN COUNTY, USA, and it went on to win the Academy Award. This film is full of great music and Jones’ soaring spirit. During industry screenings, audience response is quite minimal…this one was followed by a nice round of applause. (I’ll soon be acquiring some Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings music.)
I no longer have to get in line super early, so I get to sleep in until 7:45 tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that extra sleep.
Thanks for reading,