Toronto Review & Video: Max Winkler's First Film 'Ceremony'
by Alex Billington
September 15, 2010
Another world premiere I caught up at the Toronto Film Festival was Max Winkler's Ceremony, an indie comedy starring Michael Angarano (Snow Angels, Gentlemen Broncos), Lee Pace (The Fall, A Single Man), Reece Thompson (Rocket Science) and also Uma Thurman (who needs no introduction). It's a smart indie with some snappy dialogue, but it's a wonderfully amusing film about two friends who learn their is more to life than just chasing after older women. Well, at least that's what Angarano learns, as the plot involves him attempting to crash Thurman-Pace's wedding as he's in love with Uma and doesn't want her to marry him.
Although I enjoyed Ceremony through and through, Angarano's dialogue threw me off at first, as it was way too fast, too snappy, but I think that was a part of his character that developed throughout the course of the film, and by the end he had calmed down. Angarano plays a wannabe children's book writer who thinks he's much older than he is and pursues Zoe (Thurman) who is much older, but he thinks she is the person that he's meant to spend the rest of his life with. He drags Marshall (Thompson) up to her small wedding out on a beach on Long Island but discovers that they really don't fit in at all and maybe he's not the right guy for her after all. It's a great story, both with some strong emotional moments and plenty of fun comedic scenes.
For a first-time director, Max Winkler is incredibly talented and this feels more like his second or third film rather than his first. The film moves at a fast pace and never gets dull, which keeps audiences interested in the story at hand. It's easy to say that I liked it, but I can't say that I loved it, and I'm not even sure why, but I think it didn't have the spark to make me fall totally head-over-heels for it. It does have great soundtrack, fantastic performances, and is overall a solid film that I know many audiences will be happy to discover. I recorded a video blog on our thoughts with Jordan Raup from The Film Stage below, so check that out!
Alex's Toronto Rating: 8 out of 10