TIFF Wrap-Up: Home At Last
The final tally of my annual visit to the Toronto International Film Festival: Nine days, 26 movies, press conferences top-billed by George Clooney (twice), Matt Damon, Robert Duvall, Drew Barrymore and Natalie Portman, and lots of good eats at my favorite restaurant, the New Yorker Deli.
I was very happy with my festival experience this year. Matt Damon and George Clooney are terrific interviews and seem to enjoy talking about their movies; as a bonus, their films were worth talking about. Of the 26 movies I saw only four were really bad, and while I didn’t see any movies that totally blew me away, there were several that earned 31/2 stars (see my previous Toronto blog for my scorecard).
My last two movies were My Year Without Sex from Australian animator/filmmaker Sarah Watt and Accident, a Japanese film noir. The former jumped near the top of my list, as did Watt’s previous movie, Look Both Ways, my favorite film at the 2007 film festival.
My Year Without Sex is a movie about a family that has to deal with mom (Sacha Horler) recovering from an aneurysm in her brain. The standard Yank treatment of this material would be tons of big, dramatic moments and a likely slot on the Lifetime Channel as a made-for-TV movie. In Watt’s hands it deals with the big issues in a quiet way. This is real life and feels so genuine. It is full of laughter and just a few tears as this family deals, month to month with the recovery of mom, as she grasps with the realization that death could be one sneeze away and her husband deals with the notion that having sex with the woman he loves could kill her. I hope this movie makes it to theaters in the US but it is likely to have the same fate as Watt’s earlier film and wind up going directly to video. Either way, My Year Without Sex is the type of small scale, rewarding movie that film festivals are all about beyond the excitement of the big name Hollywood stars.
P.S.: Don’t you hate it when you get back from vacation and the first day back at work feels like it is taking forever to reach 5pm? I’m there.