I got the tickets I needed this morning (for Monday), so the day was off to a great start. I hightailed it to the Scotiabank multiplex for my first screening of the day – a movie I know we won’t play (but I felt like I wanted something ridiculous) – Christopher Guest’s MASCOTS (which will soon make its debut on Netflix). It’s been a long time since we saw Guest and his crew, and I was delighted by the opening scenes. I thought “he’s back!” The set-up is an competition for mascots from around the world – and it lends itself to some really fun material. Unfortunately, the material lost some steam…and though the movie is sprinkled with a few gems, I felt like it didn’t quite live up to previous films (though the return of one of Guest’s most famous characters was a moment that made me feel like applauding).
ALL I SEE IS YOU, the new film by Marc Forster (FINDING NEVERLAND, MONSTER’S BALL) starring Blake Lively, was next on my list. This is a dramatic film with Lively playing a woman who lost her sight in an accident when she was a child. The first 20 minutes of the film has a certain experimental tone – as Forster has us experiencing many moments as the lead character “sees” them. It’s a lovely, interesting approach, and the film works in setting a tone (though I never understood why it was set in Thailand). An operation is available for Lively’s character to have her vision restored, and everything changes. With sight, she is surprised by how the world around her looks…and her husband quickly becomes disappointed in how their lives are changing. The movie then shifts tone and becomes more of a quiet thriller. I won’t give away more of the story, but I did feel like the tonal shift was surprising and the final 6 minutes of the film wrapped things up in a very frantic pace from what started as a slow and methodical first 90 minutes. The sound design is incredible, and the photography is lovely. I think this film will find an audience, but it’s not incredible.
After a short nap and a bite to eat, I went to an event – IN CONVERSATION WITH ISABELLE HUPPERT. This 80 minute curated Q&A was incredible. Accented with clips of Huppert’s body of work (she’s made over 100 films/television appearances), she sat with Piers Handling and talked about her craft. From insight to how she doesn’t feel like she truly “prepare” for roles to inside stories about movies like HEAVEN’S GATE to the fact that sometimes she takes a role because she reads the script and falls in love with one line, it’s a wonderful inside look at one of the greatest actresses working today. Here’s a treat…you can watch the taped event by visiting this LINK and clicking the image of Huppert.
My final film of the day was also the highlight of the festival so far – Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT. This gorgeous, poetic look at the life of a black man growing up in Miami, is based on the play IN MOONLIGHT, BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE. The film is told in three chapters – with the protagonist played by three different actors (each giving incredible performances). We see him grow from a bullied, guarded young boy to a hyper masculine drug dealer. This examination of masculinity is one of the most thoughtful and beautifully told stories I’ve seen in recent years. Performances are incredible across the board, the photography is lovely, and the screenplay is touching and heartbreaking and honest. I think this film will see a lot of love this award season. (Janelle Monae, one of my favorite music artists, has a small role in this film…and seeing her on screen seemed like a natural extension of her talents. She sat across the aisle from me at the screening, and though I contained myself, I was a giddy schoolgirl inside.) The cast, director and playwright had a Q&A after the screening, and it was also incredible.
After the screening, I met up with a friend from NYC for a couple beers and a bite to eat. I returned to my apartment at 2:00…so my alarm going off at 5:50 will not be a welcome sound.
Thanks for reading,