Film Scouts Diaries

2016 Toronto International Film Festival (41st Edition) Diaries
Films I saw at TIFF 2016 - L-M

by Henri Béhar

Lady Macbeth, directed by William Oldroyd (UK, Platform)

Based on a 19th century Russian novella inspired by William Shakespeare's play which in turn inspired Dimitri Shostakovich's opera, this is revisionism (oops! an ''adaptation'') in the best sense of the word. Stuck and abandoned in a marriage of convenience to a much older and cruel man who is never home, stifled into submission by the social mores of the times, a rigidly Victorian priest and a father-in-law who demands she provides the family with an heir, she soon finds solace, escape - and vindication? - in the arms of one of her husband's servants (shades of Lady Chatterley's Lover). Is it me or are we finally witnessing the emergence on screen of female characters of unusual strength and complexity? In the title role, young actress Florence Pugh is phenomenal.

La-La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle (USA, Gala Presentations)

A crowd-pleasing bonbon that left me with the strange feeling the director ("Whiplash" wunderkind Chazelle), the actors (Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone), the production designer, the composer, etc, talented as they may be, were all working on different planets. Disappointing. I know, I am in the minority.

Magnificent Seven, The, directed by Antoine Fuqua (USA, Opening Night film)

Pleasant but pointless. The actors are having a ball and so are we, in a way. Based, of course, on Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurais" and on John Sturges' "The Magnificent Seven". Unlike Yul Brynner in the latter, the Denzel Washington character seems less interested in a "samurai code" (unexplained in Sturges' version) than by revenge. Hmmmm.

Manchester by the Sea, directed by Kenneth Lonnergan (USA, Special Presentations)

Ever had the feeling a film was simply unfolding before your eyes, without having you wonder about script, direction or acting? As if you were looking outside your window, following this guy or that teenager on the street, onto a pub or into what you assume is their home? As if you were reading a letter not addressed to you but couldn't stop, however painful, or funny, or quirky - or all of the above? This is the case with this magnificent and (only apparently) messy ode to the ordinary. Don't miss it.

Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins (USA, Platform)

"The life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami." IMDB

''Anchored by beautiful, nuanced performances, 'Moonlight' is tender, intimate and honest in a way that few American films are." Ira Deutchman on Twitter

"'Moonlight' isn't just overdue; it's sublime." Justin Chang, LA Times.

Need I say more?

Previous Installment | Next Installment

Back to Toronto International Film Festival (41st Edition) Diaries

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.