Sunday, September 7, 2014

TIFF Day 4 - Anglophile Double Feature Films

Red carpet at the Princess of Wales Theatre
My fourth day of TIFF was going to be light on films and a lot of wandering around town enjoying the city. However, the two films I saw today couldn't be so close and yet so different on many levels, but still touch on British society at its two premiere education institutions in ways we have never seen before.

The first film, The Riot Club, directed by Lone Scherfig, was set at Oxford University and focused on an elite private men's club, the Riot Club, which was drunk on debauchery and ruthless behavior. The 99% is used to seeing films where the majority victimizes the 1% in a myriad of horrible ways. But in the Riot Club, we get a snapshot of how some of the 1% really feel about the underclass. They have so much money and are empowered with the knowledge that they are set for life, that they just don't give a damn and have all their needs met. Even in the case of one fateful night of celebration and destruction, the strength and legacy of the Riot Club depends on one member sacrificing himself for the good of the club to continue their ways unchecked. None of the young men of the riot club has a smidgen of decency, morality, or real class. And the old adage is true: Absolute power corrupts. These guys give a whole new meaning to elitist snobs and the danger they pose to innocent people, and still get away with it because of who they are. The Riot Club is an entertaining film that leaves you a little sick to the stomach with the disturbing mistreatment of people in different social classes.

Grade: 3 1/2 Stars

Actors, director, and producers of ToE.
The second film of the day, and one of my most anticipated films was The Theory of Everything. Now I'll admit, I'm a straight up nerd when it comes to science, quantum physics, and astronomy, so it was a no-brainer for me to want to see Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawkings in The Theory of Everything. Similar to The Riot Club, 'Everything' was set in England at a posh university, and in this case, Cambridge. The Theory of Everything is a biopic on the life of Hawkings starting in 1963 as he was working on his PhD. At this time, his ALS disease started to manifest in his body, and as he slowly degraded, he was informed by doctors at this time that he only had two years to live. As he accepted this diagnosis, he became resigned to his life ending soon and started to remove himself from life and distance himself from his girlfriend played by Felicity Jones. Over the course of time, Hawkings continues to experience the deterioration of his body by ALS and the film wonderfully showed how his wife nurtured and cared for him, as well as start a family and help him continue on with his work. The dedication that they both showed towards each other was inspiring and really revealed how a true marriage of love commits one person to another whom cannot care for themselves all alone, but a time does come when it's too much for one person to handle. The film was light on the science and math, but demonstrated just enough to share with the audience Hawkings' brilliance, and how the disease did not affect his intelligence, just his body, which makes ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease all the more menacing and unforgiving.

Eddie Redmayne was brilliant in the movie, sweet and likeable on stage.
The audience at TIFF absolutely loved this film. The ending credits received a thunderous applause, and when the cast and director came out for a Q&A, they were met with a beautiful standing ovation that was long and loud. Of the 11 years of my attending TIFF, there are only two other standing ovations that remind me of what I witnessed tonight: Argo and 12 Years of Slave. You make of that what you will. The Theory of Everything has all the ingredients to win the People's Choice Award this year, and be a formidable contender at the Oscars - definitely for Eddie, Felicity, best picture, directing, and adapted screenplay, and music. I dislike predicting Oscars so early,but this just goes to show you how impressed I am with The Theory of Everything, and now I want to re-read A Brief History of Time.

Grade: 5 Stars

Director James Marsh, and Felicity Jones.

Images from today at TIFF -

The 'P' on my ticket is Priority. First to be allowed into theatre. A Precious benefit and advantage in seat finding.

Celebrity interviews take place at the high-end Holt Renfrew store.

Fans line up anticipating stars arriving at Holt Renfrew for interviews

Tomorrrow's films are: The Equalizer with Denzel Washington, and Mr. Turner, with Timothy Spall, the Best Actor winner at Cannes.

1 comment:

  1. The Theory of Everything sounds interesting! Great to read all your TIFF posts. It's like sitting on your shoulder. I feel the festival vibe so that is a big compliment for your writing!