TIFF 2013 Film Review: The Animal Project
Starring: Aaron Poole, Hannah Cheesman, Joey Klein, Sarena Parmar, Emmanuel Kabongo, Ali Momen, Jessica Greco, Johnathan Sousa, Jacob Switzer
Directed by: Ingrid Veninger
Choice Quote: “We are a chorus line of misfits. I am part of them. We are fearless.”
The Hype: A Toronto theatre troupe and their leader, all battling fears, insecurities, and regrets in their respective lives, embark on an experiment where they go around the city wearing animal costumes to conceal their identities and, by extension, set themselves free.
The Reality: There’s a moment during the film where one of the characters throws off her animal mask and exclaims, “I still don’t get it. I don’t know what it’s supposed to be.” Audiences may be inclined to agree.
The group of 20- and 30-somethings who make up the core cast are authentic enough, and the plot is open to possibilities, but the vanilla script leaves more to be desired.
At the heart of the film is Leo, the leader of the theatre troupe whose son Sam, a teen, skips school to smoke weed with his buddies. Leo, a single parent, attempts to take command of both his home life and his struggling theatre company. He also harbours his own secret that eventually comes out over the course of the film.