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TIFF 2012: The Movies and Experiences That Already Have People Talking

September 10, 2012

By John C.

The past few days of the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival have already brought their fair share of unforgettable cinematic experiences and selected disappointments.  To give you an idea of just how busy I have been, all I will say is that portions of this article were written on my Blackberry.

Many people that I know and heard from had a good time star gazing over the weekend, with reports of Ryan Gosling jumping over the barrier at the premiere of The Place Beyond the Pines just so that he could get closer to the fans.  But that’s not to say that there weren’t also some disappointing experiences.

I am very sad to have missed the premiere of The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Saturday night after standing in the rain for a couple of hours, because the book means a lot to me and I literally can’t wait to see how it translates to the big screen.  But the crowd outside of the Ryerson Theatre was just so poorly handled that many people didn’t get in, and the whole evening was delayed because of the numerous fans waiting around to see Johnny Deep after the premiere of West of Memphis.

But on the flipside, I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had to provide coverage of the festival and my favourite experiences also came over the first weekend, like they usually do during the predictably front loaded eleven days.  I saw Hotel Transylvania with a great crowd at the beautiful Princess of Wales theatre on Saturday afternoon, entering the building just a few feet away from where Adam Sandler was posing on the red carpet.  The entire audience all shared their enthusiasm through thunderous applause, which was the same experience that I had with Silver Linings Playbook on Sunday morning.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house after The Sessions premiered on Sunday afternoon.  The standing ovation that the film received was one of the biggest and most emotional that I have ever experienced at the festival, and it deserved it every step of the way.

These are just some of the films that I have enjoyed so far at the festival, but at this point in time, it’s still up in the air as to what will win the Blackberry People’s Choice Award come next Sunday.  Many critics attending the festival have already declared Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master as a clear favourite and I’ve also heard passionate reviews for the ambitious Cloud Atlas alongside some mixed reactions.  The fact that both films sold out all of their screenings is further proof of their popularity.  But a lot of the regular people I have spoken to in line and overheard talking on the subway have already declared their personal favourite to be Ben Affleck’s tense and incredibly entertaining political thriller Argo, which seems like a lock for numerous awards over the next few months.

I’ve also heard from young adults who have told me about how much they loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower and others who keep talking about Jennifer Lawrence’s brilliant performance in Silver Linings Playbook, another film that could easily emerge as an audience favourite.  But this year, films are not rated the same way they used to be and every single vote betters the chances for that title to actually win.  So don’t vote unless you are thoroughly blown away as you leave the theatre and actually want the film to be remembered for years to come.  The response of audiences can also sometimes be deceiving, such was the case with the melodramatic survival drama The Impossible.  Many people seemed to love it, but you will find out why I didn’t when my full thoughts on the film are published on Wednesday amidst my next set of five capsule reviews.

From the people you meet in line to the movies playing on screen that will hopefully unite us all through our investment in the film, TIFF is all about experiences and I look forward to what the next few days have in store, including what the people choose as their favourite of the festival.

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