It was time for us to tackle another local film fest – the Ancaster Film Festival. Beginning in 2004, it is part of Film Circuit (a division of the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival) which occurs in numerous cities across Canada. The Ancaster Film Fest is a not for profit organization sponsored by various local establishments, and proceeds from the screenings go straight to local causes such as food banks, which makes it even better.
There was a lineup of people anxiously awaiting the box office’s opening when I got there. I grabbed a couple of tickets and when Avishka arrived we had a classic moment of indecisiveness as we contemplated snacks. We both decided on the refreshing Pink Pineapple smoothie from TCBY and headed inside to get seated. The theatre was packed! Being a matinee, we were easily the youngest ones in the bunch, but it was great to see such a crowd of film-lovers. It’s always fun to see a film in a full theatre – to get people’s reactions, the oohs, ahhs, and chuckles, and to have that shared experience. In film fest fashion, a speaker introduced the film, giving a little insight into the casting and production and also talking a bit about the Ancaster Film Festival and putting in his recommendations for their upcoming screenings.
We chose to see My Week With Marilyn – a much talked about film this award season, and rightfully so. Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, and Eddie Redmayne are all superb, not to mention the excellent supporting cast of Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, and Emma Watson. Admittedly, we didn’t know a whole lot about Marilyn Monroe before viewing the film. Perhaps that was for the best because we got to learn about this elusive, complicated figure with a fairly objective perspective. At least, the most objective one can be with such an iconic figure. This film, directed by Simon Curtis, addresses Marilyn the woman. We get glimpses into her behind-closed-doors moments of insecurity and fragility. Marilyn is portrayed beautifully and I was moved more than I thought I would be.
Michelle is absolutely mesmerizing in the role. She is one of those rare actors that can convey a million different emotions at once as they flicker subtly across her face; one bat of the eyelashes speaks volumes. It is an exquisite performance and further proof that Michelle has quickly become a standout actor of her generation. I first fell in love with Mr. Branagh when he became my favourite Hamlet in the 1996 film version of the seminal play that he directed and starred in. Rounding out the leads, Eddie more than holds his own opposite the two.
The word Avishka and I kept hearing, both before and during the film, was “marvellous”. I think it’s a fitting way to describe My Week With Marilyn and our experience with it. I’m writing this entry on the eve of the Oscar nominations unveiling and am confident we’ll see Michelle’s name on that coveted list.