21 September 2017

Our 2017 TIFF Experience



This was my favourite TIFF year. I loved all the movies we saw, and two of them were "must sees" for me (I, Tonya and Lady Bird). We also had really great luck with actors and directors being present for question-and-answer sessions. This was a horrible year for organization though ... almost every movie we saw was super delayed and we got a lot of conflicting directions. We've decided to bring a polaroid camera next year so we can create a catalogue of all the volunteers who wronged us.


This was not my favourite year. I found the festival to be horribly organized, we had a terrible but likely unoriginal rush line experience, and I didn't love one of our selections (The Killing of a Sacred Deer, see below). I have found more and more that the festival is not people friendly, they don't care about the people purchasing tickets, the volunteers are incredibly mindless and poorly trained, and the scheduling is a hot mess. I would suggest I could probably run this festival better (lol). One volunteer tried to make my mom throw out her TIFF branded unpopped popcorn packet before a movie, that volunteers had JUST handed her as we walked to line up for the movie. they told my mom no snacks and she was like "WHO EATS UNPOPPED KERNALS MORON???" jk... she was a lot more polite but I hope they felt stupid. We will keep coming back, but I will continue to make scenes everywhere I go and smuggle my coffees into the theaters.

On the other hand, I did love two of the movies we went to, and it's always nice to spend time with my mom and my friend Ally who lives in Toronto (and Meghan, duh). I also love any chance to see, interact with, or walk the same streets as, celebrities. We also did some great shopping including a new coat for my mom and a jailbird halloween costume for my 3 month old puppy. Success.


Lady Bird 

Directed by Greta Gerwig

This movie was really important to me to see because I love, love, love Greta Gerwig and this was her directorial debut. I have been watching her since I first saw her in Noah Baumbach's Greenberg (2010), and then have followed everything she's done - including scripts like Frances Ha (2012) and Mistress America (2015).

This movie was exactly as I expected it would be, it was funny, sad, and really well done. It also opened with a quotation from Joan Didion, so naturally I was sold immediately. The quote was "Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento." Didion and Gerwig are both Sacramento girls, and you can tell they have a great eye for detail when it comes to California's capital.

Gerwig came out after the movie to answer questions and honestly it was probably the only Q-and-A session where the questions were actually decent. Usually you have people blabbing on about how much they liked the movie (instead of actually asking a question) or the question is super lame. But this session was much better. She said it isn't semi-autobiographical in that Saoirse Ronan's character is nothing like her, but it is in that it shows the deep connection she has for her hometown. - Meghan

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Meg and her mom hated this movie. I did not. I thought it was very entertaining and full of incredibly beautiful shots. I mean obviously this movie was weird, but if you've watched anything else Yorgos Lanthimos has done then you'd know what to expect. To me, there are two types of "weird movies": there are movies where you have no idea what is really going because the plot is not linear or traditional (stuff like The Tree of Life), and there are movies that have a "weird" or absurd plot (The Lobster), but you can still follow everything that is going on.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is exactly the second option. If you don't like the strangeness of the plot you can at least follow what is going on. And I honestly can't imagine anyone watching this and not wanting to know what was going to happen.

I am not even going to talk about the plot at all because it is much better to go in not knowing what to expect. The trailer for this movie is perfect because it doesn't really give anything away. - Meghan

I, Tonya 

Directed by Craig Gillespie

I loved this movie. It was ridiculously funny which surprises everybody because its a biopic of Tonya Harding (the figure skater), and as my friend Ally put it, "didn't she kill someone"? No, she didn't kill anyone, and she is actually a very sympathetic character throughout this movie. it also doesn't talk as much about the Nancy Kerrigan incident as most people would expect, and is instead based on her life and upbringing. Margot Robbie plays Harding, and Allison Janney plays her mom, and both should be up for awards for their performances if you ask me. 

The movie switches in and out of  'present' day interviews with the characters and them reflecting back on past events. I think because of this format the movie feels a lot longer than it is, but you're never bored. It also has a killer soundtrack and amazing costume design. One of the coolest things we learned is that only like, 5 female skaters have ever landed a triple axel, and it was incredibly hard to find someone to do it as Harding for the movie. 

It is surprising how shit Harding's life was. She was severely abused by both her mom and her boyfriend/husband, and she was judged critically by skating judges, despite being the best, because she was poor and couldn't afford luxury costumes (along with trailer type etiquette). 

I think Meghan and I both regret not asking the director at the Q&A why they went for a comedic approach considering how dark the subject matter was. They did a great job of making it funny, but the movie could have easily been produced as a serious drama. For example, the scene where Harding finds out she's been banned from figure skating is heartbreaking and Robbie gives an A++ performance. One thing I will say is that while this is a figure skating biopic, it's also a great movie about American culture, and how it loves scandal. There's a great quote from the movie that loosely goes "America wants someone to love but they also want someone to hate". - Meagan


Directed by Wim Wenders

I knew nothing about this movie at first other than the fact that it starred Alicia Vikander (which is always a win). Meghan actually read the book beforehand so you can expect a book / adaptation review and comparison in the near future, but I actually LOVED this movie and will for sure read the book in the future as well. 

Submergence is a love story but in the coolest, non-cheesy way possible. A professional young couple meets while trying to get some R&R over the weekend in France. Danny (Vikander) is a biomathmetician studying marine life in incredibly deep water, and James (played by James McAvoy) is a spy (this was never confirmed) who ends up being held hostage in Somalia. While each are seperated they reflect back on their time in France together, while unsure if they'll see each other again.

In so many ways and for reasons I can't explain (Meghan said maybe she accents and she's likely right), this reminds me of The English Patient (1996). It will be interesting if I make the same comparison reading the book. They both share a somewhat non-traditional love story told through memories, and if you've been following this blog you know how much I LOVE The English Patient

Vikander and McAvoy have an amazing chemistry, likely because they're both incredibly attractive. Meghan also says Vikander can have amazing on-screen chemistry with just about anyone and she's right (with the exception of Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl because I'm not sure anyone can have amazing chemistry with Eddie Redmayne). The movie is beautifully shot, and features the most incredibly scenes of the Faroe Islands. We also got a lot of outfit inspiration from Vikander in this film because we'd love to wear sweaters and Uggs our whole lives as well as strings to hold our glasses around our neck. - Meagan


As we've stated previously, we are not photographers. Here are some photos from our weekend, but they were all taken with one hand on a cell phone and we will not be attempting to edit them. 
here we are looking fly staring at the sun waiting in line at an ungodly hour for a movie that had assigned seating

Meghan went to the bathroom and caught Steve Buscemi on his way into The Death of Stalin premiere
one of our favourite theatres- Elgin and Winter Gardens
we saw Tanner Zipchen walking the streets and knew we needed a photo because we see him ~4 times a week before any Cineplex flick, but neither of us could remember his name so impulsively I yelled "we love you" so he would stop

the cast / director of I, Tonya including Margot Robbie looking hot as hell in a white pantsuit
we waited in line for soft service ice cream (which nobody likes) at Sweet Jesus because we wanted this pic

Ally showing my mom pictures from her first TIFF celeb sighting (George Clooney)

Sweet Jesus
some of the cast of Lady Bird + director (Greta Gerwig)
Wim Wenders and James McAvoy at the Submergence premiere (Alicia was late, how rude)

my family loves street meat, and thankfully Toronto stocks veggie dogs on all their carts

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