- I celebrated the last day of the festival by taking my son and his cousins to see two PG Family-rated films. The first film matched its rating but the second did not.
- The Hairy Tooth Fairy is an Argentinean/ Spanish co-production. Children in South America and Spain do not leave baby teeth under their pillows for a fairy but for a coin-leaving mouse. Juan Pablo Buscarini’s animated mice are adorable and the assembly line of mice shaping and polishing the teeth into pearls is a nice idea.
- This film combines excellent CGI with live action and mediocre models. The resulting film has an old-fashioned, hokey feel. This is in keeping with the themes. The film takes an anti-automation stance ( Pérez is against any change to tradition while the villain wants to automate and turn his former workforce into zombie-like toys). It also posits that for a family to be happy, the mother must drop her aspirations to support her husband's. In an emotional scene, the father and mother agree that the successful mother’s absence on business trips is problematic. To prevent chaos at home, she should stay home now that the father has found a job (short order cook). These ideas are dropped into on-the-nose dialogue which raised at least one groan from the audience.
- To be fair, all three of the kiddies enjoyed the film. They laughed at the slapstick action and didn’t seem to mind the stereotypes. The heroine’s cousin is an overweight, bespectacled egg-head who makes wonderful inventions but still needs training wheels on his bike. The lead is a little girl who, thankfully, does break the mold. She is bold and physical. We first meet her setting the table in roller skates.
- U is a painterly, complex animated feature lasting 71 minutes. During that time, I saw at least two families leave and I felt embarrassed by what my young relatives were watching. The themes were too adult for children under eight. I didn’t want them to see close-ups as the young guitarist shows the princess how to French kiss. We see their tongues and hear him compare her lips to the cool insides of flowers. Children too young to read the subtitles of this film might have been better off not hearing them read aloud.
- I feel let down by the TIFF guide (p. 216) which recommended this film for ages 4-9. My young protégés liked it well enough but I was surprised that the subject matter engaged them. The story is about the brink of adolescence and physical love. Nothing truly naughty happens, but there is the character/metaphor of the shrinking, disappearing unicorn. At the end the princess falls in love and must leave tiny U, her unicorn friend, behind. As she prepares to set sail with her new love, it is implied that her childhood innocence won’t make the return journey.
Labels: TIFF Toronto International Film Festival