So, I may be without a press pass this year (Don’t ask. Long sordid story) but there are some seriously lovely people who are making sure I get to cover the Toronto International Film Festival for you this year. I have already been to a screening, and next week I will be heading to a gala, another screening and to some other good stuff that I can’t wait to tell you about. TIFF time is my favorite time of the year and I have been going for as many years as I can remember. This year, however, with two of the most major of Jewish holidays falling out right as the TIFF opens (Rosh Hashanah) and right before the TIFF closes (Yom Kippur), getting to the festival is not an easy task. But rest assured…I will be there when I can!!!
I had the pleasure of seeing a press screening of Daydream Nation, the debut wonderchild of Canadian writer/director Michael Goldbach.
Obviously, I am always up for supporting Canadian films, and it certainly didn’t hurt that both Kat Dennings and Josh Lucas were in it AND that Broken Social Scene was providing the music for the film. I mean, how could this movie be bad?
Well, It wasn’t.
The backdrop for the film is just your average small town…with teenagers all getting high on household cleansers, with a chemical fire continuously burning, and with a serial killer on the loose. Kat Denning wows with her portrayal of Caroline Wexler, a not-so-average new-in-town teen who chooses to write a “who is your hero” English paper on MONICA LEWINSKY and in keeping with that theme, seduces her English teacher Barry (played by the lovely Josh Lucas) who, it seems, has some interesting demons of his own. And seemingly just for some more shits and giggles, Caroline seduces her young stoner friend Thurston (played by Reese Thompson) as well.
This coming-of-age story is way more indie than angsty, and more dark than light, more suspense than, say, school dances and date nights. It’s more about manipulation-out-of-boredom than romance. And rest assured, it’s Caroline who is doing all the manipulation – she’s smart, she’s calculated, and she knows that both Barry and Thurston worship her.
Sure, there are some plot holes and some awkward “what the what?” moments, but Kat Dennings carries this film with her performance, much like Caroline Wexler carries this whole town with hers.