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Toronto Film Festival rundown 2019… 2/3


What to look out for, what you can definitely miss, and what you should be demanding your local cinemas to be showing. 
The second of three articles rounding up my time at Toronto, a truly wonderful experience.

With such a jam packed festival of films it was inevitable that a few of the ones that slipped through weren’t going to be up to the standard that was set with the likes of Blackbird. The following are the films I beg you to not waste your money or, more importantly, time on. Despite being an enjoyable experience for me, this was purely due to the buzzing atmosphere created by the festival itself and definitely not from the films themselves and this was certainly an atmosphere that I don’t expect to come across at my local cinema any time soon.

First up, the bitter atrocity that was The Goldfinch. What the hell was going on with this film? From Ansel Elgort’s Instagram you’d have thought it was an audience success and a critic’s failure but I can assure you, this is no Wonder Woman. This is certainly not a situation where some old white dude writing for the Guardian has ill-judged a film intended for an audience other than his. The Goldfinch was – on all accounts – a spectacular disappointment. And I’m honestly dumbfounded as to how they managed to achieve such a colossal failure, with such brilliant source material and incredible actors- I’m stunned that they couldn’t achieve even an average film, let alone an actually decent one. If there’s money for films like this why on earth is there not a spare bob lying around for some interesting stories? Where was the funding for The Miseducation of Cameron Post? For Adult Life Skills? Why did those women have to fight tooth and nail for the very bare minimum to produce a film when there’s a surplus of cash lying about for the likes of The Goldfinch?

I know I’m rambling, I apologise, but failures like this really bug me.  I’m bored of watching characters that offer nothing new, have no real intent, and leave you with the overwhelming feeling of: ‘what was the point of that then?’ The story was a string of events loosely harnessed together with some ill-fitting flashbacks and flash-forwards, the characters failed to stay consistent in their convictions and the bottom line was that, in all honestly, it was just a bit shit. I can’t pretend anymore, I’m so bored of these pointless stories about some dude who, yes, has had it hard, but because the film failures to draw you in, feels like he’s just moping about a bit. I didn’t spend enough time with the characters to fully appreciate their intentions. Or actually, that might not be accurate, we spent a lot of time watching Elgort’s character, but whether or not this was time well spent is debateable. There’s a difference between spending time with a character and then actually learning something from that character as a result. And I think that was the difference with this film, there was a lot of time spent on nothing, and so when big events happened the impact was lost as our empathy for these ‘people’ was lost.

Even Nicole Kidman’s character got side-lined as they wheeled her on near the end in the most ridiculous attempt at aging that I’ve seen in a long time. It genuinely felt almost like a parody, very Catherine Tate’s nan. And not that I’ve really spared any candour so far, but the rest of the film is a bit of a blur. Can I remember any other performances? No, I can’t to be honest, and that it simply because they weren’t memorable. And if that doesn’t speak volumes I don’t know what will.

Please don’t waste your time, I implore you.

Next up: Weathering with You. I was keenly anticipating this film as it comes from the same Director as Your Name, a surprisingly touching story considering the amount of cheese that surrounds the beginning of the story. So I was excited to be surprised once more by a film I would expect to be a bit clichéd, but in fact rounds up as an impactful story. But unfortunately, this was not the case with Weathering with You.  

It follows a young boy as he runs away from home and travels to the Big City of Japan to find some kind of purpose and excitement in his life. As the film goes on he’s met with many challenges, and falls in love with this girl who is able to change the course of the weather.   All of this would be grand if we had something to root for. The entire story felt somewhat convoluted, there were storylines that would be picked up and dropped almost simultaneously and overall it just felt as if the story lacked a central drive. As a result, my compassion for the characters was minimal. Having said this, it was still vaguely enjoyable. The music was powerful, and the characters were nice to be with but it just didn’t have the same impact as other films I have seen of the same genre. My advice would be this, if you’ve been anticipating this film, or like this genre, watch You Name instead as it’s the far superior film. Overall, it just fell a bit flat, and consequently would not be a film that I would re-visit.

So there you have it, out of a whopping 10 films seen in the space of 8 days there were only 2 that were a disappointment, I don’t think that’s too shabby of a proportion at all.