There have been several themes that have emerged at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival. But at the top are courage and loss. And in rarefied company, stories of finding the courage to handle loss.
A small independent film, entitled Meek’s Cutoff is about loss—and lost. It is the story of 19th Century settlers lost on a stretch of the Oregon Trail. It is a slow, rugged film from director Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy) that stars Michelle Williams.
The Toronto urbanites were clearly uncomfortable with the pace of Meek’s Cutoff, but any student Intermountain West's history will appreciate the challenge.
Two other movies explore a more visceral loss: the death of a child. Earlier this week we told you of the world premiere of Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. It’s the gut-wrenching journey of a young couple’s healing process in the wake of eight-year-old child's death.
Another world premiere at TIFF was Beautiful Boy starring Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) and Maria Bello (The History of Violence). They play a couple faced with the news that their 18-year-old son is responsible for murder-suicide on his college campus. The film is handled with care and tenderness.
But one of my favorite films at TIFF (and all of 2010) is Hereafter, a movie about a different type of loss. Matt Damon plays an unlikely psychic as he interacts with damaged souls in search of redemption. It’s yet another brilliant film by Clint Eastwood who, at the age of 80, can still astound.