The best of the fest
The highlights from the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
Posted: Sep 18, 2010 1:07 PM ET
Last Updated: Aug 26, 2011 12:50 PM ET
Biutiful. Javier Bardem was heart-wrenching as a harassed family man facing his mortality amid the squalid realities of globalization. Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams, Babel) proved he doesn’t need a fractured narrative to tell a profound and moving tale.Best Canadian film
Tie: Fubar II and Oliver Sherman. Hilarious, heartbreaking and profane, the sequel to Fubar (2002) sees hoser buddies Terry and Dean head to Fort McMurray to try to make their fortune in the oil fields. Needless to say, things don’t work out as planned. Gloriously Canadian, but in a much less self-conscious way than the opening night film, Score: A Hockey Musical. Oliver Sherman stars Garret Dillahunt as an ex-soldier who tracks down the army buddy who saved his life seven years earlier. One of the most compelling performances at TIFF this year. Honourable mentions: Trigger, The High Cost of Living.
Films that got the biggest Oscar buzz
The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as George VI, who receives speech therapy from Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue; 127 Hours, Danny Boyle’s first film since Slumdog Millionaire, starring James Franco as a hiker who has to saw off his lower right arm to free himself from a fallen boulder; and Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s ballet-themed psychological thriller, starring Natalie Portman.
Film that got the most visceral reaction
127 Hours. Danny Boyle’s latest follows mountain climber Aron Ralston's struggle to survive after his arm gets caught between a canyon wall and a boulder. The James Franco-starring drama got a standing ovation from everyone at its first screening — except three people who collapsed during its climactic amputation scene.
Film that got the 2nd-most visceral reaction
Film Socialism. New Wave provocateur Jean-Luc Godard may no longer make great films, but he still makes people angry. Not only was his latest movie disjointed and pointless, its prolix French dialogue was accompanied by comically terse English subtitles — a joke that sent usually tolerant TIFF audiences heading for the exits.
Favourite visiting celebrity
Whether he was looking sharp around town, partying with Zach Galifianiakis after hours or cracking up a room full of journos at a staid news conference, Jon Hamm was the most affable, unpretentious star to grace the fest. He was in Toronto to promote his supporting role in The Town, but Hamm easily wins our prize for leading man of TIFF 2010. A class act.
Most union-friendly TIFF celebrity
Martin Sheen, who walked the picket line for 20 minutes with striking workers outside the Royal York Hotel.
Most depressing — and yet most entertaining — news conference
Woody Allen doesn’t often appear in his own films anymore, so those of us who are still fans were thrilled to hear some of his classic ruminations on life, death and aging at the news conference for You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. A sampling:
- “I think things get worse and worse. I see no advantages of aging whatsoever. You become shrivelled, you become decrepit, you lose your faculties, your peer group passes away.”
- “It’s an unpleasant thing. It’s kind of a nightmare, in a way, actually. And the best thing you can do … is to distract yourself. So, you know, you go to the movies. You get involved in a meaningless love affair, the outcome of which doesn’t mean anything in the scheme of the universe.”
- “And you watch [tennis champ] Roger Federer, and you do all these things that distract you and keep you from thinking about the tall dark stranger that eventually comes and gets you, despite all your efforts to eat health foods and do exercises.”
Vomiting. Whether drama or comedy, in film after film we were treated to the unpleasant sight of a queasy character bending over and retching. The most spectacular spews: Keir Gilchrist’s projectile puking at the dinner table in It’s Kind of a Funny Story and a drugged-up Joaquin Phoenix disgorging an endless brown river in I’m Still Here.
Biggest manufactured event
Everything to do with the Joaquin Phoenix "documentary" I'm Still Here, starting with the faux Phoenix who roamed around the fest, tricking fans and journalists alike, and culminating with Casey Affleck's interview in the New York Times on the third-last day of the festival, in which he admitted the movie is all mock and no doc.