TIFF 2017: Benedicts with Benedict and the Cast of The Current War

FASHION Reviews Everything TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival is mostly about cinema (obviously). But TIFF isn’t only about films. There are parties to attend, stars to spot on the street, and brand activations everywhere. It’s high time for all aspects of TIFF to get the same critical attention as the films.

Welcome to FASHION Reviews Everything TIFF-related. While this might not be an entirely comprehensive appraisal—it’s as impossible to be at every party as it is to see every film— if we attend anything linked to the Toronto International Film Festival in anyway, we’ll review it here.

Okay, so we didn’t *actually* eat eggs Benedict at the Grey Goose Cocktails and Conversations event for Benedict Cumberbatch’s new film, The Current War. Which, frankly, was a huge miss by whoever arranged the food set up — especially because it was a brunch. However, I understand that runny egg yolks and hollandaise sauce don’t make for great pre-panel finger foods. So we’ll let it pass. The spread of cheeses, croissants, lobster, and oysters (pictured rightfully amongst movie stars in the gallery below) was, I’ll admit, a 10/10 choice. Shellfish and OTT caesars on the lavish Lavelle poolside rooftop? Sign me up for this every Sunday.

As I awkwardly dismantled my 10 plus topping drink, I watched as foreign press (Italian, British, Australian and French accents all in attendance) scoffed at the sight of Clamato juice. Michael Shannon, however, didn’t seem to mind our distinctly Canadian delicacy: the two-time Oscar nominee slugged back two of the beverages whilst perched on the panel. Watching Shannon, who is effortlessly hilarious IRL, lick the salt rim off his multi-topping Caesar was probably the highlight of my first TIFF weekend.

Cumberbatch seemed to enjoy his Grey Goose crafted beverage as well. (See my photoshopped close up in gallery below.) I’ve always thought Cumberbatch was on the same level of cool as Clooney and Pitt … but then I saw him pop the collar of his corduroy blazer, wearing a pair of very ‘I Am A Movie Star’ sunglasses. That, I think, was my disappointing up-close celebrity moment of TIFF thus far.

But enough about drinks, stars, and fashion statements: what we were really all here for was to talk about The Current War, a 19th century biopic about Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse’s battle to light the United States. Seated on the couch with Cumberbatch (Edison) and Shannon (Westinghouse) was Nicholas Hoult (Nikola Tesla actor and ex-bf of JLaw), director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Javier Bardem look-a-like and genius behind Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) and screenwriter Michael Mitnick (a very young looking guy with glasses).

I watched the movie at a late night press-screening the night prior, causing me to miss a run-in with Arya Stark. I was hopping from a star-studded cocktail party to a dark office theatre room for a two hour history lesson on electricity — admittedly, I wasn’t in the right mind set to thoughtfully review the movie. Here’s what I took away: The Current War has great performances, interesting camera work, killer costumes and fun history facts that make you go “ohhhhh.” But, it was still a pretty boring movie. As press left the screening room, an employee at the office asked if we had any initial reactions to the film. His response (paraphrased): “I’m just tired I want to go home.” So ya, despite the obvious energy put into the film by cast and crew, The Current War didn’t exactly have the power it needed. Will it generate enough interest from critics to be an Oscar contender? I don’t know. Personally, it put me out like a light.

HAHA, ok I’m done with the electricity puns now. But actually, that clever homonym embedded in the The Current War‘s title might be the most interesting thing about this film. At the Grey Goose Cocktails and Conversation panel, we seemed to continue circling back to how this is a timeless story, and how it very much reflects the Apple/Amazon/Google rat-race we see today. “It’s about legacy,” Gomez-Rejon said on the panel, “and the importance of leaving the world a better place through creativity, innovation, and spontaneity.”

You can watch the full 45-minute panel at Deadline Hollywood.

TL; DR
— Caesars and shellfish but no eggs benedict
— Michael Shannon licking salt rim
— Benedict Cumberbatch popping collar
— Puns are pretty much the only interesting thing about electricity

Event Rating:🍤 🍤 🍹 🍹 🍹 (read as Caesars made with Grey Goose) 

Movie Rating: 😴  🎩  💡