Kelzell Media - Kelly Kitagawa
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TIFF 2018: The Beautiful yet rigid "Mouthpiece" by Patricia Rozema — Review

Synopsis: “Mouthpiece” is the film adaptation of a play of the same title. It tells the story of young woman going through the grieving process of losing her mother. The film deals with conflicting feminist ideas and concepts, and ultimately the difference between the patriarchy and internalized misogyny.

Credit: Toronto International Film Festival

Credit: Toronto International Film Festival

As a viewer that had attended the play at Buddies and Bad Times theatre in Toronto earlier this year, I was really looking forward to see how the director and performers would build this world through film. Though the script was ingenious, and remarkable in so many ways, the film felt rigid and hyper structured with a pacing that just felt a bit off. I have nothing but respect for the script, the content and the Creators, however I found myself disappointed.

The script has a breath of youthfulness to it, which in Canadian film and media is quite rare. This is why the direction and overall flow of the film felt very disconnected to me. There was a rather slow pace to the whole story, and the tonal elements like music, sound, colour and editing had such precise and obvious intention, there was no room for interpretation or emotional reading. Every moment was packed with a suggestion of what to feel, and though that is obviously an indication of an excellent understanding of filmmaking, it took me away from the story time and time again. Suggestions of “laugh at this” or “be sad about that” made the piece feel more forced than the play had.

Never the less, I would highly recommend seeing this film if you are unfamiliar with feminist or queer theory, and even more so if you are. I think it’s certainly an interesting comment on what it means to be a woman, and what that really could mean.