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TIFF Day 5 & 6 

Finally I can say I’ve seen Room, probably the festival’s favourite and a Canadian co-production of all things. Starring Brie Larson as a woman who was kidnapped at 17 and has been kept in a 10 x 10 shed for seven years as a mostly unseen man’s sex slave. The son from that union is Jack (portrayed by the young Vancouver actor Jacob Tremblay), who’s five and doesn’t know the world is much, much bigger. It’s one of those premises that makes your stomach sink, but it’s not as horrible as it could be—the rapes happen offscreen and in such a matter-of-fact way that’s devastating in a different way—and there’s a sequence I won’t spoil that is one of the most thrilling of the year, and not one bit of it was made by a computer. Larson, who did great work on The United States of Tara and broke through in Short Term 12, steps into her light as an actor of her generation, while Tremblay holds every bit of his own, even in the company of the likes of Joan Allen and William H. Macy. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, Room is a fucking triumph on all levels.

A bit of a misfire is the farce Lolo, the sixth film to carry the multi-credit of directed, written by and starring Julie Delpy. It’s got an amazing opening credits sequence—another time we shall bemoan the Credits Problem at the movies—and runs with a fizzy charm for awhile, but then it just gets weird. Delpy is Violette, who’s got an 18-year-old son (Vincent Lacoste, who looks like a French Jean-Ralphio) with a serious Oedipal complex, and he hates her new boyfriend (Dany Boon) and spends the movie trying to destroy the relationship. It’s always frustrating watching these types of things, where a smart person happens to be monumentally stupid when it’s convenient for the plot, and Lolo is such a shit that you’re not nearly as charmed as Violette is. (There’s an itching powder plot point.) Delpy is such a charming, luminous actor that it feels like sacrilege to criticize her, but never forget how the French love Jerry Lewis.

I have an afternoon flight but I planned it around catching something on my way out of Toronto (which is back to feeling like fall after a pair of classic disgusting hot days). I am embarrassed to drag my suitcase to the Scotiabank but when I walk in there’s already a little collection of them against a wall in the very wide aisle. Like-minded nerds.

Spotlight is everything Truth is not: unflashy, hard-working, unsentimental and terrific. A true ensemble—Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Live Schreiber and Michael Keaton among it—it chronicles the Boston Globe’s uncovering of the Catholic Church abuse scandal that had been covered up for decades, not just in Boston but around the world. It’s essentially a police procedural, about reporters—bad hair, bad clothes, no windows—just getting on the ground and doing their jobs. Directed by Tom McCarthy, who usually makes little stories feel big—Win Win, The Station Agent—here he makes a huge story feel personal and local.

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