The Review/ Short Read/List/
Five Characters Who Will Find Their Someday at TIFF ‘16
It’s good to have goals, it’s even better to achieve them
If the lineup at this year’s TIFF 16 is any indication, moviegoers are fascinated by true stories. Is it because we’re empathically inclined to root for the underdog, or has Hollywood just run out of original ideas? I believe it’s far simpler than that - true stories aren’t just more believable, they’re incredible. Sometimes, what we need is a good cinematic example to find our inspiration.
Until aliens invade and Jeff Goldblum is our only hope, what we see on-screen doesn’t need to be reflective of our own lives. But life is a messy thing - full of ups, downs and other dichotomies. From scraped knees to first apartments to retirement dreams, all of our challenges and celebrations are worthy of dramatizing, but these things can also be daunting.
I’m not saying that we should take all of our inspiration from true-life movies (Erin Brockovich might not be the best workplace role model, and Into The Wild shouldn’t help you plan your vacation), but there is something to be said for watching the story of someone who’s achieved their Someday — that hopeful future that we’re all striving towards.
Luckily, this year’s lineup has no shortage of real-life inspiration. From love conquering all to classic sports fables, here are five characters finding their Someday at TIFF ‘16:
Queen of Katwe, directed by Mira Nair
David Oyelowo (Selma) and Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) star in the true story of a young girl (Madina Nalwanga) from rural Uganda who discovers a passion for chess and sets out to pursue her dream of becoming an international champion. Few things are more uplifting than a young person realizing their incredible potential (Billy Elliot anyone?) Even if we were never a childhood prodigy, the belief that hard work paired with natural talent is enough to transcend even extreme poverty could bring a tear to anyone’s eye.
Loving, directed by Jeff Nichols
Jeff Nichols (Mud, Midnight Special) directs Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in the true story of couple Richard and Mildred Loving, who, with a dream of getting married, spend 10 years in legal battle that led to the overturning of the Virginia law prohibiting interracial marriage. I’m going to be honest and admit that I started to cry 10 seconds into the trailer with Richard’s simple promise: “I’m going to build you a house, right here.” The basic right to marry the person you love is a fight that continues to this day, and this film is a beautiful reminder of all the wars that have been fought already.
Lion, directed by Garth Davis
The true story of Saroo Brierley, who was adopted by an Australian couple at the age of five, is driven by his desire to be reunited with his birth family. Two decades after getting separated from his brother at a train station in India, 25-year-old Saroo sets off on a pursuit to find his birth family using Google software. The film features notable performances from Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and Google Earth — yes, Google. Watch as Brierley’s search for his past threatens to overwhelm his present. What’s the algorithm for heartbreak?
Maudie directed by Aisling Walsh
Maudie tells the story of Maud Lewis, one of the most inspiring figures in Canadian art, and her dream of being a famous painter, despite having juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She spent her early life dismissed for what was presumed her limited ability. After answering a call for a housekeeper from curmudgeonly bachelor Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), the two fell in love and married weeks later. In real life, the couple lived in a tiny 10-by-12 foot home in Digby, Nova Scotia for 30 years, while Maud’s folk art went on to gain international acclaim. It’s hard enough becoming a celebrated figure, but smashing commonly-held stereotypes make Maud’s journey truly inspiring.
Bleed For This, directed by Ben Younger
The TIFF 16 film Bleed For This (co-starring Miles Teller’s Speedo), offers up one of the most unlikely victories in sports history. After Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, deftly played by Teller, is in a near-fatal car accident that leaves him with a broken neck, he is told that he may never walk again. That doesn’t stop his goal, however, of returning to the ring. Against all odds (and doctor’s orders), renowned trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) agrees to help Vinny to stay on track just a year after the accident, for what could be the last fight of his life — spinal cord be damned. From buzzer-beaters to comeback kids, there’s no lack of athletic glory in the field of dreams.
If you’re looking for real-life inspiration, you can catch all these films and find your someday at TIFF 16.