The Death and Life of John F. Donovan is a Compelling but Endearing Mess: TIFF Review


I’ve never been the biggest fan of Xavier Dolan and I outright hated his last film, so upon hearing that The Death and Life of John F. Donovan was already opening to bad reviews from other peers at TIFF, I thought I already knew what I was set to expect. Yet instead I came out thinking that as messy as it may have been, this also happens to be one of Dolan’s best films. Surprisingly, it was rather easy for me to have made such a statement because it seems to be a perfect summary of what I find Dolan himself to be – and it’s also set to divide people all the more. But because of what a story like this can say about where Xavier Dolan comes from, I think it’s also fitting enough to say that there’s a lot of heart to be recognized in a story like this, and for the most part – it also happens to be in the right place. Which is more than I know I can say about many of Dolan’s other films, because I’m also looking forward to seeing another English-language effort by him now.

Continue reading →


Boy Erased and the Stigma of Gay Conversion Therapy: TIFF Review


During my high school years, I had often made an effort to hide the fact that I was queer from many of my peers – even my closest friends and family members. After coming out of the closet, I found myself within a greater state of freedom and yet even some of my biggest fears were also more realized too. I was always worried about what people would be saying to me, given as I had often been living under a conservative environment, and even been made to believe in – even if I never felt most comfortable with what I would be made to say about the world around me. This already feels most fitting for me to talk about as I talk about Boy Erased, because of the very fears that I know conversion therapy would be placing upon many LGBTQ+ individuals all across the world. Which makes talking about Boy Erased especially complicated because there’s another stigma that comes by that is also triggered by the concept of a church-funded conversion therapy. So among many reasons I wanted to see Boy Erased was because of what I hoped it would make the general public understand about what conversion therapy does to people like myself.

Continue reading →

The TIFF Diaries Entry #3: Hiking Back and Forth Around Toronto, Red Carpet Talks

Saturday has been yet another busy day, if also quite slow – and to some extent boring. However, I think it also happens to be the best day for me in terms of the films that I had caught at the festival all day because I had the pleasure of seeing Beautiful Boy once and for all after having failed to get into its premiere screening due to commitments to see Gloria Bell at its premiere. And in the time that I had spent in the festival since then, waking up near six in the morning and lining up for nearly an hour, I have not been able to get the film out of my head. It all had to start with being able to attend the press line at the red carpet the previous day, but now that I finally got the chance to see it for myself after promising some friends (and failing) to get a picture of Timothée Chalamet at the premiere. But I will be honest, if he was only sticking in the fan zone, I can’t say I do blame him.

Continue reading →

It’s Only the End of the World – Review

At the risk of starting up controversy it was something that I still feel is worth noting anyways because in spite of being an LGBT Canadian, I don’t care for the films of Xavier Dolan outside of Mommy. While I have nothing but great admiration for the efforts that are put into the work given Dolan’s young age I still face great trouble even trying to connect with many of his own stylistic choices and said feelings have held me back from watching It’s Only the End of the World. Dolan carries a very aggressive nature when it comes to talking about how some of his own films feel, but nowhere has it ever been nearly as aggravating as it was in here. It highlights the worst sort of melodrama, and even as someone who is not a particularly huge fan, it was the least I would ever expect of Dolan.

Continue reading →