15 Reasons to Live
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15 Reasons to Live

Alan Zweig asks the big questions.

2013042515reasons

DIRECTED BY ALAN ZWEIG (Canada, Canadian Spectrum)
3stars


SCREENINGS:

Saturday, April 27, 6:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Monday, April 29, 1:30 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)

Sunday, May 5, 1:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)


Inspired by Ray Robertson’s eponymous essay collection, Toronto filmmaker Alan Zweig’s 15 Reasons to Live offers a series of vignettes about why life is worth prolonging despite its inherent trials. As the high concept would suggest, this approach yields something of a mixed bag, with stories ranging from the deeply poignant (a novelist who must retrain himself to read after a stroke) to the mawkish (a couple’s attempt to rescue a whale, captured on home video), but Zweig’s characteristic warm embrace of his subjects and grouchy-cum-friendly narration makes it an amiable ramble all the same.

One wonders at times whether the source text doesn’t hurt the film’s structure more than it helps. That’s especially true in Zweig’s profile of local activist Adam Nobody, whose injuries and detainment at the hands of police during Toronto’s G-20 summit are a bit cryptically introduced as “humour.” But the best portraits, including Zweig’s sweet reminiscence about Toronto film staple Tracy Wright and another segment about an elementary school student who openly resisted the religious dogma of her institution, have an uncommon depth and generosity to them that makes up for such hiccups.


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