2014 Canadian Film Fest Closing Night Gala: After Party (Michelle Ouellet) & Peter and Jane Know Some of the Same People (Chris Remerowski)

The 2014 Canadian Film Fest begins its closing night gala screening at 8:45 this evening at the Royal Theatre, and I Couldn’t think of a better feature to end it with than After Party.

It is preceded by the dark short Peter and Jane Know Some of the Same People. Peter (John Goodrich) and Jane (Laura Burns) met when an online dating service matched them. When they meet, there’s automatically a dark vibe between them, and as they get to know one another it’s obvious that no matter where this relationship goes it is going to be a dark place, and one of them is well aware of exactly where it’s going.

This one was short, a little macabre, and a bit unnerving. Reminding us all, once again, to be careful about people you meet online.

I was biased towards liking After Party before I even saw it, released by Sociable Films, that name and some of the stars are very familiar to Bomb Girls fans. But beyond that, Ali Liebert, Jodi Balfour, Graham Coffeng, Nicholas Carella, David Milchard, Christina Sicoli, Emma Lahana, Peter Benson, and Erica Carroll in their roles of characters attending a wedding’s after party all turn in great performances in a film that really resonated with me.

AP_FINAL-2_smaAdmittedly the majority of the characters are in their early to mid-thirties but they are all very relatable to someone on the other side of 40 (that would be me).

What starts out as a fun evening begins to evolve into some earnest soul-searching as the characters begin to wonder about their lives, and their place in each others’ lives. All of them have their baggage, and despite appearances, as the evening progresses we learn that no one is completely happy, no matter what hand life has dealt them.

But there’s a point right towards the end of the film, when one of the characters, asks a pertinent and poignant question, that I’ll paraphrase here… Would you trust your 21-year-old self to plan your life?

I sat with that for about ten seconds before coming out with a resounding no. I’m just starting to figure out who I am, and being happy being me, and starting to really get on to what I want to do with my time here. Is some of it the same as when I was 21, sure, but so much of it is different and I’m finding that I am happy to be on the path I am.

That is something that the characters through the film start to learn about themselves and each other, as hard truths are delivered and revealed.

It’s a hopeful film, and lets you know that everything will be alright, trust and count on your friends, because those moments of love that you share are the most important, the rest are just trappings.

What film did you enjoy most at the Festival this year?

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