TIFF 2012 Wrap-Up - Pounds Personally Gained: 4.5
For the first time ever, my favourite film was the same as the people's! The people, of course, chose Silver Linings Playbook as their favourite film of the festival, as did I. I was excited going into the fest about director David O. Russell's return from the dramatic darkness that he explored in The Fighter to something lighter, or at least comedy-based. What I wasn't prepared for was just how good Bradley Cooper and in particular Jennifer Lawrence were going to be. It's a joy, and it underlines the one big thing I took away from TIFF this year: film fans are going to have a great time in theatres this fall, watching the movies they've been expecting to enjoy for months.
There were a number of relatively high-profile films sold at the festival this year, including Sarah Polley's doc Stories We Tell, John Dies At the End and Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, but most of the hype and fan kudos was reserved for films that have long been scheduled for imminent release.
In addition to Silver Linings Playbook, crowds reacted strongly to Ben Affleck's Argo (though I think Roger Ebert's nuts with his prediction that it'll win Best Picture), opening night time-crime film Looper and Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children.
A bit unsurprisingly, the hotly-anticipated follow-up from In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths, won the Midnight Madness People's Choice Awards, lending a bit more oomph to the feeling that this year's TIFF was a solid preview of a good fall schedule, with not much in the way of surprises – there was no film a la last year's The Raid that came from nowhere to blow the doors off.
Even the films that could theoretically have polarized audiences didn't, really. While pretty much everyone went ape over the performances of Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in P.T. Anderson's The Master, responses overall ranged from, paraphrasing, "brilliant but not as good as There Will Be Blood" to "pretty good", and the praise was even fainter for Terrence Malick's To the Wonder. Cloud Atlas was more divisive, drawing praise and scorn in equal measure, though almost everyone agreed that it's a deeply weird film.
If there was one surprise at the fest this year (other than how much almost everyone enjoyed Harmony Korine's potentially horrifying Spring Breakers) it was Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which sent people over the moon. Thankfully, those of us that skipped it don't have to wait long: it comes out on Friday. As do End of Watch and Dredd 3D and The Master, all of which screened last week in Toronto.
A solid, solid seeming line-up with a lot of Fall content turned out to be precisely, well, that.