|A most charming man, Benedict Cumberbatch with his screaming fans (all pictures ©Simone at ToZ)|
However, I will start off with a review of Benedict's film, The Imitation Game -
The Imitation Game is a bio-pic about the world's first computer genius, but back in the WWII era, it wasn't known as a computer, but simply, a large calculator to help decipher encrypted codes written by the Nazis. Alan Turing was hired by MI6 to break the codes produced by the Nazis, and he had a very tight timeline to do it in the midst of World War II. Turing's demeanor immediately gave people the impression that he was not only eccentric, but anti-social, and quite frigid and autonomous with his work routine. But what really lay beneath Turing's aloof mannerisms was a gay man fearful of persecution in England had it been revealed that he was a homosexual. The director, Morten Tyldum, incorporated three key moments of Turing's life in this movie, with well executed flashbacks to Turing's childhood in school where he was tortured and bullied for being different and smarter than the other boys. However he found friendship with one special boy whom he would think about for the rest of his life. As it would come to be, Alan named his computer after his first love and believed that 'Christopher' would break the Nazi code which will eventually bring down that awful German regime.
Turing needed the assistance of a small group of brilliant mathematicians, including one woman, Joan, played by Keira Knightely. For a short time, Joan would be Alan's fiancee to help her stay with the mission of working with the computer to break the codes. Espionage comes into play and make everyone paranoid in the group, as a secret message to the Russians alerts MI6 that there's a Communist mole in Turing's group, with him as the lead suspect. As the heat is turned up and the pressure is on, eventually Alan breaks the code and helps end WWII. The third moment of Turing's life featured takes place after WWII where an investigator digs too deeply into Turing's life after a robbery in his home is coolly and unfortunately, suspiciously dismissed by Turing. This all leads to a revelation of his homosexuality and the pathetic law of England at the time that fully prosecuted men for being gay. With Turing's secret MI6 work being classified, the police had no idea that Turing was the man in England who helped ended WWII by decrypting Nazi messages. To them, he was just another poof that needed to be chemically castrated and "cured". His homosexuality wasn't cured, he as humiliated and victimized by the country he saved, and died at age of 41. Alan Turing's story needed to be told, and he deserves to be recognized as a frontier in the dawn of the computer age and honored for helping to save the world with his love of mathematics. As usual, the gay aspect is seriously downplayed, it's just a given, a known fact, but not shown in the film.
Grade - 4/5
|A PRish person warming up the Cumberbatch fans.|
The CumberbitchesI knew from seeing on the internet that Benedict Cumberbatch fans were in a universe all by themselves. Fans of TV shows have a zealousness that put music fans, fans of Broadway, and sports fans to complete shame. I really don't know why that is, but maybe it's because you don't have to pay to watch TV, or rather for a nominal fee, and you can watch the TV show and its repeats over and over again. Add a dash of a posh British accent and that voice, some charisma, genuine talent, a world renowned famous character, two cheekbones, and beautiful eyes, and you have a TV/movie heartthrob. I watched with calm interest how the fans (many of them well over the age of 30) were queued up since 10 am to pick a spot along the red carpet to have a prime view to see Benedict. Lucky for all the fans, Benedict was very gracious and spent a good amount of time signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans. I saw and heard lots of crazy screaming, but I heard that before at red carpet events. What was going on outside was what I have seen before, but I was not prepared for the behavior inside the theater.
|Keira, Benedict, and director Morten Tyldum|
When the cast came out one by one, and with Benedict last, there was a crazy scream from the audience by Cumberbatch fans. They were really, really excited. I think back on like last year at 12 Years a Slave and I recall my excitement to see Michael Fassbender. Sure, I adore him, and I applauded for him, but I didn't scream. That's ok, right? I was smiling and I was happy to see him and be there, but I didn't SCREAM for him. As the lights went down to start the film, the Cumberbitches even screamed and clapped when his name was on the screen during the opening credits.
Nearby, I heard some whispering and giggling during the film during certain scenes, and a few times I think I heard some light clapping after Cumberbatch as Turing said something in the movie that provoked some hysteria in a few fans. I remember thinking to myself that these people really needed to chill out and drink some chamomile tea or something. They were just too fidgety for an otherwise serious film about a serious subject.
|Only Keira, Benedict, and Morten spoke.|
After the film there was a standing ovation, and when the cast came up on stage, they received another standing ovation. At this moment I felt it was overkill, but I went with the flow, it's rude not to. For the first time in my 11 years of attending TIFF, they had two microphones at separate ends on the lower level ( you were screwed out of asking a question if you were in the balcony). This allowed anyone who had a question to prance up to the microphone and ask a question. What happened next, I never expected in my wildest dreams at TIFF. You see, if an inappropriate or silly question was asked from the audience without a microphone, the moderator would be able to hear the question and recite it in a succinct way to help everyone understand the question being asked. With a microphone, whatever you say in that microphone, is heard by everyone in that audience, immediately, instantly, with no audio malfunction. What I heard in the front row loud and clear, the person in the highest balcony tier in the furthest corner, also heard. Understand?
|The moment when the delusional fan annoyed everyone|
|Near the end of the Q&A|
When they left the stage, I could tell that Benedict couldn't leave fast enough, and I was glad it was over too.
If anyone from TIFF bothers to read this, I implore you to reconsider allowing microphones in the audience at screenings where there will be a huge fanbase of a very popular actor/actress. It's just best to have a moderator ask pre-written questions to help the audience have a better understanding of the film and performances we just viewed. Immediately after the screening of The Imitation Game, twitter was on fire about this stupid Cumberbitch's question. Her vomit inducing 'yumminess' term was used in the headline of an article written about the screening on Variety no less! The media ran with this and pretty much endorsed the behavior of this woman. Maybe some of the articles mocked her, but what I'm concerned about is the mileage she got from saying what she said. This incident will be used by her to align her with Benedict when people talk/write about the TIFF screening. The next morning on Cameron Bailey's tweet feed, he gushed about TIFF having Martin Scorsese at a Q&A, and he took a moment to also write 'behave yourselves'. Even Cameron knows the danger now posed by an immature and overzealous fan who lacked the intelligence and common sense to be mindful of what she's saying to a famous person in a public venue. I certainly hope that TIFF learns from this and don't allow microphones at least at screenings where there is talent with crazy fans in the audience.
|Benedict gave thoughtful and thorough responses to some questions|
Benedict Cumberbatch is a great actor in The Imitation Game. I strongly believe he will be nominated for an Oscar in this role, but his friend Eddie Redmayne will be a strong competitor too with his excellent work in The Theory of Everything.
|I grabbed his seat sign for the heck of it.|