Toronto 2011 Journal, Part 9: The Unresolved Ending

The Projector
September 16, 2011
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TORONTO -- This will be my last journal entry from the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, so it made me think about endings. This year's festival was notable for the amount of films that had ambiguous or open-ended finales. Rather than resolving in some sort of concrete way, a lot of movies left us wondering if their main characters had changed or if the pivotal moment that we'd been building to was actually going to happen. (I'm not going to say what movies these were because, hey, I don't want to spoil anything.) Sometimes the technique worked, sometimes it didn't, but it's funny how those unresolved endings are sort of a nice metaphor for film festivals in general.

In little over a week, I've watched 25 films. (I may try catching a few more before I leave on Sunday, if my annoying cold will allow me.) I did my best to separate the gems from the dreck. Seeing so many movies back-to-back, however, makes it difficult to know for sure if there are ones you missed the boat on. Second viewings aided by the benefit of perspective (and maybe a little sleep) will help clarify movies in my mind. Was I too easy on "Sarah Palin: You Betcha!"? Was I too hard on "A Dangerous Method"? Why do I want to see "Twixt" again, even though I didn't ultimately like it? (More on that later today when my review is posted.) You think you know how you feel about a movie, but sometimes it grows on you or reveals new layers you didn't notice the first time. Being a movie critic is such fun, but it's far from an exact science.

So that's why I feel like any opinions you end up having about a film festival after it's over are always a little unresolved. If anything, Toronto just gives you a glimpse of the movies we'll be seeing in the next few months. But it's not the final word. There were many, many that I couldn't make, and there were a few I did see that I'm still chewing over. That's the way movies are. The best and most interesting ones never really end; they stay with us and keep asking us questions. I may still be wrapping my head around all I saw in Toronto, but I do know this: We've all got a lot of great movies to look forward to in the near future. All in all, that's a pretty happy ending.

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