Dilani Rabindran



Behindwoods at TIFF – Days 5 to 7, Fernando Coimbra, John Wells


Days 5 through 7 of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival contained an elegant mix of Hollywood’s sure-to-be-blockbusters, low-budget works of passion, and some gems in between. Here is a glance at what stood out in my eyes amidst my screenings over those 3 days!

AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY – Director: John Wells, USA

Based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Tracy Letts August Osage County is a phenomenal dramedy about a terribly dysfunctional family in the mid-west. Bringing together legends Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts for the first time on-screen the film hosts a huge cast but is anchored by its lead females, whose performances are certain to garnish a few awards nominations. When the matriarch of the Weston family & her daughters are reunited under morbid circumstances all hell breaks loose under one roof, and what follows is a terrific display of the chaos that ensues when pent up feelings & family secrets are kept under wraps for too long. Although some may say it is American drama at an extreme, the struggles & relationships shown are certain to strike a chord with anyone with a less-than-perfect family (so pretty much everyone).

HOW I LIVE NOW – Director: Kevin Macdonald, United Kingdom

How I Live Now is a thrilling look at survival, self-discovery and young love in even the most unglamorous of situations. Based on a popular young adult novel and directed by Kevin Macdonald, the master behind films like The Last King of Scotland, the movie revolves around how an urbanized teen from the US is sent to the country sides of England to live with relatives she has no former knowledge of, all while Europe is on the brink of a major war. In addition to solid performances by actress Saiorse Ronan & her young co-stars, the film is magnificently shot; Macdonald has turned the rolling hills of England into a grim apocalyptic future, while including stunning imagery of beautiful safe havens amidst the destruction. Although the movie is based on teen fiction the film contains enough suspense, drama and action to appeal to all ages.

LIFE OF CRIME – Director: Daniel Schechter, USA

A solid entertainer usually contains a little bit of everything – comedy, suspense, romance, action… Life of Crime solidlydelivers on all fronts. The hilarious kidnapping-caper stars Jennifer Aniston as the victim, Tim Robbins as the target, and John Hawkes &YasminBey (better known as rapper/actor MosDef) as the well-mannered but determined extortionists who set out to kidnap a wealthy man’s wife in the hopes that his love for her will take away their financial worries for life. Set in the ‘70s director Schechter does a great job at twisting storylines enough to keep you guessing and providing a wholesome family film.

A WOLF AT THE DOOR – Director: Fernando Coimbra, Brazil

The chilling Portuguese film A Wolf at the Door is an adaptation of a crime of passion that actually occurred decades ago in Rio di Janeiro. In his first feature director Coimbra has done a great job on a low budget to recreate a frightening retelling of an entanglement of extra-marital affairs& a kidnapping, and how a lover’s deception drives the betrayed to extreme lengths of revenge. Told as a series of contradicting flashbacks the film keeps viewers guessing about whom they trust and whom they pity, as Coimbra intended to tell the traumatic story fairly from all points of view. Overall the amount to which we remain captivated until the very end is truly commendable, especially since the small film pretty much revolves around only 2 main characters.

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