Today I’m giving away the programme from TIFF 2010. I picked the wrong year to write a post in a hurry. This was the kind of year you hope for when you crack open the guide (which still feels like Christmas morning to me, these many years later).
I will only write descriptions about the movies you’re not likely to know because there were so many incredibly good films that year. Also, please note, in addition to the ones I list here there were also lots of good movies that I didn’t see in the festival that year. It really was one of the best in recent memory.
Off the top
The King’s Speech – The Q&A brought the house down. I remember Tom Hooper’s reaction to the audience, they had kid excitement, they were all so thrilled that we loved it so much.
Little White Lies – A wonderful French movie. Kind of The Big Chill made modern and made in French. From Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard’s husband. She is also in the movie. Very funny, moving, and tres French. It will make you long for a summer holiday in the South of France and your closest friends to share a summer house with.
The Town - I liked this movie although Ben Affleck didn’t do a Q&A – boo
West is West- remember East is East? This one isn’t quite as good, but who can resist revisiting that wonderful family.
Black Swan – I think Darren Aronofsky must have a warped imagination, but aren’t we glad he does and that he makes movies.
Rabbit Hole - proof that Nicole Kidman can act when she lays off the freezing. Please stop messing with your face and make good movies. Also, I will never get enough of Aaron Eckhart, I wish he made more movies like this.
Another Year – my favourite Mike Leigh movie. Real people having real relationships with real joy and disappointment.
Blue Valentine – I couldn’t get a ticket to this during the festival but saw it afterwards. I just couldn’t leave it off the list.
Beginners – in which Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer teach the world how to tell a story
Incendies – One of the best Canadian movies I’ve ever seen. I loved this movie, had no idea where it was going and was taken in by the story, the performances, and thoughtful pacing. Beautifully done.
Client 9 - Great doc about the taking down of Eliot Spitzer. Damn you Mr Spitzer for not being able to keep it in your pants. We needed you to keep those greedy Wall St hoodlums under control and look what happened when you gave them the ammo to take you down.
Inside Job - an appropriate partner film to Client 9. Every grown up should see this movie and vote. Full stop.
Meek’s Cutoff - Kelly Reichardt’s poetic pioneer painting. A westward ho 1845 ”road movie,” only there were no roads and the women wore bonnets. This is an intimate movie, made with great actors, and deeply suspenseful even within its dry and quiet pace. Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton (who is so good), Paul Dano, and more.
How I Ended This Summer - a great Russian movie (I don’t say that very often) about a young university student interning for a summer at a meteorological station in Siberia with an old school technician. It starts with a standard generational clash, precision instruments vs. digital technology, musical differences and no common ground. It starts to change when one of them gets some alarming news from home. This movie had us on the edge of our seats and the arctic scenery is as stunning a backdrop as you can imagine. A really memorable telling of a gripping tale.
The Piano in a Factory – A Chinese movie that told of a divorced Dad, his travelling musical band, his struggles with his girlfriend and moving attempt to keep custody of his daughter and other rambling idiosyncratic rabbit holes. It was kind of a crazy movie that was a little bit all over the place, but it was so surprising and visually interesting that all of us who saw it loved it. The program said 119 minutes. I think it lies, I’m pretty sure it was about 30 minutes longer.
My pick – (King’s Speech was my actual favourite but everyone already knows about it so I’m picking this one…)
Never Let Me Go - A great film from a great book and so beautifully acted. I loved everything about this. If you haven’t read the book do, and if you haven’t seen the movie, see it. Carey Mulligan is subtle and commanding. She and this glimpse into a future based on medical possibilities and ethical failure will take you by surprise.