Only a handful of press screenings today, nothing for me. Of all the festivals I have attended this one ranks with one of the very best, better than most, though nothing will ever beat 1997. That was very special, loaded with great films.
This year the best film I saw was Amour, which impacted me in a way I did not think possible after reviewing movies for so long. The weakest one for me was To the Wonder. a bizarre experience in a theater, and ninety minutes (no kidding!) of my life I would like back please. The bold daring and vision of Cloud Atlas stirred my emotions, and the gentle humor of Quartet will not be easily forgotten. Jennifer Lawrence knocked me out in Silver Linings Playbook, never to be thought of the same again, and though Bill Murray arrived with Oscar hopes high, he leaves with them deflated a tad in Hyde Park on Hudson. Not that it is a bad performance, it’s not at all, we are just seeing more and more performances that are much stronger.
And I would be lying if I did not admit that I cannot get The Master out of my head; those performances, the risk of that style of acting. Having seen the film perhaps Clay knows best what I mean, but Phoenix took an incredible chance with his performance and makes it work. The physicality changes his appearance, the way he moves and speaks, it is quite remarkable, and takes us far, far away from Joaquin Phoenix the actor. It takes some getting used too, but once we are with him, it is an astounding piece of acting.
And to close, the courage of Sarah Polley’s doc about her birth father and her mothers’ affair astounded me. To put that out there, to show the pain, the confusion and the love that family has over this happening was exceptionally brave. The lady is not a national treasure for nothing.
And The Sessions is never far from my mind, the life force that is John Hawkes in that lovely film, the warm soul that is Helen Hunt. So long TIFF, see you next year.