Today Thu Fri
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on April 23, 2014
Partly Cloudy
6°/0°
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on April 24, 2014
Partly Cloudy
8°/3°
It is forcast to be Chance of Rain at 11:00 PM EDT on April 25, 2014
Chance of Rain
11°/5°

1 Comment

culture

Reel Toronto: No Heart Feelings

A humble indie film presents the city as its real, beautiful self.

2013 08 21noheartfeelings

Well, isn’t this lovely. We often decry how Hollywood uses our fair city to play more “exciting, world-class” cities, missing the opportunity to shoot Toronto as its lovely self. And while some recent, higher-profile efforts have finally started giving Toronto its cinematic due, it’s in smaller, local productions that the voice of the city truly seems to emerge.

No Heart Feelings, first released in 2010, is firmly in that vein. Like David Bezmozgis’s Victoria Day, it simply presents the city as a real place, inhabited by real people going about their lives. Indeed, given the geographic and other correspondences, you might think of it as a relative of Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, without the same high emotional stakes. Heck, it’s pretty easy to watch the not-so-hip urban dwellers of No Heart Feelings and wonder if they might not run into the characters from either that film or the annoying hipsters of This Movie is Broken during all their forays into Trinity-Bellwoods Park and its environs.

If you’re a Torontoist reader (and we’re guessing you are) there’s a good chance you’ll recognize something of yourself in these characters, who perambulate around downtown and who, we’re guessing, voted en masse for someone other than Rob Ford. (Actually, the Torontoist connection runs a bit deeper: former editors Alison Broverman and Sarah Lazarovic act in and co-direct the film, respectively).

No Heart Feelings played in local theatres and got some good reviews when it came out, then it disappeared into the ether. Last month, though, it came out on DVD and on-demand, giving us a chance to give it a proper look.

As with other set-in-Toronto movies, we can’t claim this works our detective skills so much as our “just read the sign on the window” skills, but it’s still a fine way to appreciate the city’s cinematic side.

2013 08 21office xenophile

So, we start by meeting our female lead, Melanie, played by Rebecca Kohler. She works at a cubicle at this office, which is at Xenophile Media, in Kensington Market.

2013 08 21resto2

We spend a fair bit of time in this hood. This brunch, for example, is at Aunties and Uncles.

2013 08 21resto ext

The exterior is seen here.

2013 08 21kensingtongrocer

But you can do more than just brunch in the market. You can get some groceries with your new pal, Lewis (played by Dustin Parkes)…

2013 08 21kensington coffee

…and then grab a coffee over at I Deal Coffee.

2013 08 21drinkinginbellvuesq timelycops

In a timely predictor of the recent discussions over tolerating drinking in Trinity-Bellwoods Park, the characters enjoy a clandestine mickey over at Bellevue Square Park.

2013 08 21spadina lornes

Not too far away, they stroll down Spadina

2013 08 21chinatown

…and take it through Chinatown.

2013 08 21condos

The aforementioned Lewis has a pretty sweet condo….

2013 08 21condoview

…with a pretty sweet view, eh? It’s in the Pinnacle condos, right near the ACC.

2013 08 21murray undies pelee posters

This as good a time as any to mention the random Toronto cameos. If you’re fan of National Post quipper-and-drawer Steve Murray and have always wanted to see him showing off his work, in his underwear, drinking a fine VQA wine from Pelee Island, here’s your chance. You might not get another.

2013 08 21loopgalllery murray

Later in the movie, an exhibition of his work is presented at Dundas West’s Loop Gallery

2013 08 21loopgallery

…which you can also see from the outside here.

2013 08 21sexsmith mugs

After that meet cute in Kensington, Mel and Lewis stroll the streets and end up at a garage sale manned by Ron Sexsmith, of all people.

2013 08 21bikeride

They buy a bike for Lewis and take a golden-hour trip south…

2013 08 21bike trinbellwoods

…through Trinity Bellwoods.

2013 08 21trinbellwoodspicnic

There, they picnic (yes, with more barely-legal booze)…

2013 08 21trinbellwoods badminton

…and play badminton.

2013 08 21dvp

After this handsome shot of the DVP, we find our perennially peripatetic couple…

2013 08 21broadviewdq

…meeting up at the Broadview Avenue Dairy Queen

2013 08 21dvbikepath

…before biking down into the valley…

2013 08 21brickworks

…and enjoying a drinky-poo at the Brickworks.

2013 08 21 patio

A good place to spot your favourite Torontoist contributor in real life is right here, on the Press Club patio…

2013 08 21patio pressclub

…the exterior of which is seen here.

2013 08 21christiepits

And a good place to watch some baseball for free is here, where the Maple Leafs (not the hockey team, but the intercounty baseball team) play at Christie Pits.

2013 08 21ago

And if you’re still not Toronto’d out, you can also spot the AGO…

2013 08 21queenwest

Queen Street West

2013 08 21melsapartment 401richmond

…and Mel’s place at 401 Richmond.

2013 08 21deletedscene flamingo

And you can even check out the DVD’s deleted scenes to watch people walk down College

2013 08 21deletedscene sneakydees

…and head into Sneaky Dees.

2013 08 21undergardiner

Lewis even takes a solo walk by the base of the Gardiner…

2013 08 21royalyork

…the city shining behind him.

2013 08 21cottage

Just when you can’t handle any more of your familiar haunts, the cast and crew decamp for a denoument set up north at a cottage.

2013 08 21kernelsimpsonsfarm churchill

On the way out of town they take Yonge Street north, stopping for corn at Kernel Simpson’s Farm

2013 08 21yongest sixthline

…and crossing 6th Line. Yes, if John Graves Simcoe’s pal Sir George Yonge had ever set foot in our dominion, he’d be proud to be such an important part of this film.

Superficially, it’s easy to draw some links between No Heart Feelings and Take This Waltz. They’re both “relationship movies” where the twenty-something characters have picnics in Trinity Bellwoods and coffees in Kensington Market—and, let’s be honest, the group of films that meet those criteria is pretty small. Whereas Polley’s film is finely crafted, the more improvisational indie tone of No Heart Feelings yields something perhaps a bit less affecting but also more relatable and real. If only there was a scene of the characters checking out the latest Ford follies on Torontoist

Comments

  • DJF Reader

    Parkes is 100% purebred troll