Smoke-Free TIFF Presents: Jane

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Jane (2017)

Reviewed by: Ivory Featherstone

Jane is a documentary on Jane Goodall’s life work that is brought together from primarily outtakes of never seen before footage. It is PG rated film directed by Brett Morgan and was screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. The film tells a story of love through Jane’s expeditions as a young adult, first hand insight on some of her famous field work in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park that is used today, her relationship with Hugo van Lawick, husband and cameraman, and finally, the family of chimpanzees that were the focus of her studies.

Overall, Jane was an amazing experience. After years of studying her ground-breaking field discoveries in my Anthropology classes, I can now make connections like never before. The movie was about love. Not only love with the chimpanzees she studied but the love and growth of her cameraman and husband Hugo. They both have a special relationship and a love for the work they do. I recommend this movie and sure hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Jane deserves a better rating in my opinion due to the way her story was captured like never before.

I took my mother and boyfriend to see the movie with me, who are not interested in any of this kind of stuff but they enjoyed it more than I did! To be the second audience group to see the premiere of Jane, in the world felt special. It even felt like an added little gift when the director Brett Morgan came out before the movie to do an introduction and then after the movie for a question and answer session. Overall, for my very first TIFF experience- I am now hooked for life. I will be a continuous member of the TIFF audience for years to come. Thank you again for such a wonderful experience, see you next year!

Was there smoking in the movie? Yes, there was tobacco use.

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Who is smoking? Hugo, the cameraman and husband to Jane was a chain-smoker.

What was happening in the scene with smoking? He was smoking cigars and mainly bored waiting for the chimps to arrive so he could document Jane’s field work.

Would you notice if the smoking was taken out of the movie? No, I wouldn’t notice if smoking was taken out of the movie. It didn’t really have a need to be in the film. I only noticed it because I knew I was looking for it.

What was your reaction to seeing the characters using tobacco? No, the movie did not show and health effects related to smoking. But, from my opinion, the smoking could have caused the early death of Jane’s husband.

Smoke-Free TIFF Presents: The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water (2017)

Reviewed by: Donna Pan (Program Assistant at Youth Advocacy Training Institute)

The Shape of Water is Academy Award nominated director Guillermo Del Toro’s newest film that was screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. It is a romantic fantasy film set in the 1960’s that tells a tale of a Elisa Esposito, a mute cleaning lady who works in a government laboratory, who falls in love with an half man half aquatic creature that is captured and brought in for testing. It stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and many more. It is rated PG on the Official TIFF Website, however I believe that due to the tobacco exposure and mature scenes throughout the film, it should be rated 18A. This film was not accurately rated as I had anticipated a children’s film given the genre and summary of Toro’s newest film.

Elisa’s story is incredibly sad as she was an orphan was who abused as a child and as a result became mute as her vocal chords were cut. She feels alone in the world and desperate to be accepted. She states that this creature is the only person to ever see her as whole and complete. She becomes the only person able to communicate with the creature as she slowly earns over his trust and teaches him ASL. When she learns that the Colonel Strickland wants to dissect the creature she feels that it is her responsibility to save him and return him back to the ocean where he was found. It is definitely an interesting story albeit a little disturbing, I would rate it a 7/10.

An interesting side note is that The Shape of Water was actually filmed in Toronto and it was screened at the Elgin Theatre where it was filmed. Definitely a cool Inception-esque moment seeing the theatre and the seat I was sitting in appear on screen.

Was there smoking in the movie? Yes, smoking was prevalent across the film in the form of cigarettes. I would count at least 10+ times of tobacco exposure.

tobacco impressions

Who is smoking? Main characters including Elisa, Zelda, Hoffstetler, as well as many other minor characters can all be found smoking at some point during the film.

What was happening in the scene with smoking? In the scene where Elisa and Zelda are smoking, they were offered cigarettes by their coworkers when they were taking a break. Other characters smoked both indoors and outdoors.

Was smoking necessary for the characters in the movie? No, smoking was not necessary for the characters in the movie. It is actually quite shocking because the movie was officially rated PG on the TIFF website, yet on top of the mature scenes, the tobacco use was so prevalent that I believe it was inaccurately rated.

Would you notice if the smoking was taken out of the movie? I would not notice if smoking was taken out of the film as again, I had anticipated a children’s fantasy movie. Due to its rating, I was hoping there wouldn’t be any smoking.

What was your reaction to seeing the characters using tobacco? My initial reaction was shock as it kept happening and for the main characters to all smoke, it shows that the director felt that smoking added to the development of the story. It could’ve been due to the fact that the story was set in the 1960’s- a period of time where smoking was common. However, in that case, the rating of the film needs to change in order to avoid youth from coming to see this film.

Did the movie show the real health effects and consequences of tobacco use? No, the consequences of tobacco use were not shown in the movie.

Smoke-Free TIFF Presents: BPM (Beats Per Minute)

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BPM (Beats Per Minute) (2017)

Reviewed by: Fyffe Hunting (Public Health Worker at HKPR District Health Unit) and Youth Group

BPM (Beats Per Minute) is a French drama film rated 14A that was screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. It was an informative film about people living with AIDS in the 1990’s. It stars Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Adele Haenel and Antoine Reinartz. It profiled people in the LGBTQ+ community. It was also about Nathan, a character who doesn’t have AIDS.  It got up close and personal about the characters’ lives and their relationships with each other. We would recommend the movie to a mature audience.  It was an 8.5/10 film.

Was there smoking in the movie? – Yes

tobacco impressions

How often was smoking found in the movie? In the movie, the image of tobacco use was shown ten times.

What was happening in the scene with smoking? Tobacco use was present when the characters were stressed and needed relief or were in pain.

Was smoking necessary for the characters in the movie? In our opinion it wasn’t really relevant to the story. If these images were not used in the movie it wouldn’t have changed the movie.

Did the movie show the real health effects and consequences of tobacco use? No- the health effects and consequences of tobacco use were not shown.

Smoke-Free TIFF Presents: Angels Wear White

                                               Angels Wear White

Angels Wear White (2017)

Reviewed by: Vedant Kochhar (YATI Volunteer)

Angels Wear White premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and is the first Smoke-Free TIFF Movie Review. The film brings forth critical social issues which include child sexual abuse, violence against women, prostitution, and the corruption present within society. The film is in Chinese with English subtitles. It was released on September 7th 2017 at film festivals throughout the world. The film stars Wen Qi, Shi Ke, Geng Le, and many others. It is interesting to note that due to its festival release, the film’s rating was labelled STC (Subject To Classification) as it was not yet rated. However, I found that in the movie, there were mature scenes found at various points throughout the film. And so, I would rate this movie 18A. The story revolves around two schoolgirls –Wen and Xin, who are assaulted by a powerful middle-aged man in a motel. Mia, a teenager who was working reception that night, is the only witness. For fear of losing her job, she says nothing. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Wen, one of the victims, realizes that her troubles were just beginning.  Trapped in a world that seems to be very evil, these two girls must both find their way out.

The movie starts off by having short and cut off scenes of different angles of a big statue of Marilyn Monroe, and the main character Mia is shown staring at this figure. In the Q & A session that followed the movie, the director Vivian Qu shared an interesting anecdote while working on the script for this film. She read a newspaper article of a Marilyn Monroe statue being moved out of a small town in China. The residents of the town posted messages all around saying “Don’t go Marilyn!”. This deep interest in the statue stuck with the director, and she asked a few of her own female friends about what they thought of the news. One of them responded that Marilyn meant everything to her but love.

Angels Wear White is a foreign film which provides other parts of the world an insight into the state of affairs in China, and the struggles that women face in particular in a patriarchal and sexist world. It opens up the audiences’ appreciation of a more accepting country like Canada where these social issues may be considered less prevalent.

Was there smoking in the movie? Yes.

tobacco impressions

Who is smoking? The police officer, Wen’s mother and father, and the thugs.

What was happening in the scene with smoking? The police officer smoked cigarettes whenever he was stressed, or right after arguments. Wen’s mother smoked after she was given more information regarding her daughters’ case. She also smoked whenever she would feel guilty about her daughter’s situation.  The thugs smoked out of habit.

Would you notice if the smoking was taken out of the movie? No, I would not notice.

What was your reaction to seeing the characters using tobacco –  I thought that the tobacco usage in the film, went with the flow of my understanding of tobacco usage. It is unpleasant, it is destructive and the characters who used it, were villainous. I would rate this movie 18A so children and young viewers are not exposed to the tobacco found present within the film.

Did the movie show the real health effects and consequences of tobacco use? No, it did not show the health effects, but it did show some social consequences of broken relationships, irresponsible people, and chain-smokers instigating their partners to smoke, corruption, and marital instability.

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle (2017)

Reviewed by: Vedant Kochhar (YATI Volunteer)

The Glass Castle is a film memoir that is based on a true story and is rated 14A. It was released on August 11th  2017. The film stars Brie Larson (Jeannette Walls), Woody Harrelson (Rex), and Naomi Watts (Rose Mary) and many others. It is based on Jeannette Well’s own life story. It is symbolic of a child’s imagination, a father’s inability to provide, and a family’s hope that keeps them alive and happy despite the most difficult circumstances. Throughout the movie, there are scenes which contain inappropriate matter for young children, or have very disturbing images of abuse and injury. I believe the rating is appropriate. The movie shows the life of Jeannette Walls, and her dysfunctional family and their life squatting in different homes across the country. Jeannette has many flashbacks throughout the film which show the hardships she and her siblings faced in their childhood. Hardships which included having an alcoholic father who would use all their savings for alcohol that directly resulted in their inability to purchase food, afford basic necessities, and have a roof over their head.

The movie starts off by showing the life of the mid-20 year old Jeannette Walls working in her newspaper office as a columnist. She reflects on her life and how she and her 3 siblings were forced to take care of themselves and raise each other as their free-spirited and responsibility-averse parents both inspired and inhibited them. Their father, an ex-pilot for the United States Air Force, was a brilliant man who effortlessly taught his children about physics, geology and how to embrace life without fear. But, when he drinks, he became a very destructive and dishonest man. His alcoholism blinded his judgement and as a result, he hurt his entire family in the process. The film was beautifully directed as the audience was able to view the film from Jeannette’s perspective.

The Glass Castle is a remarkable film. It is able to portray many messages to those watching. Viewers are hooked to the film due to the constant change in the setting, and the fast pace of this movie.

Was there smoking in the movie? Yes.

tobacco impressions

Who was smoking? The main character Rex as well as several non-credited extras were found smoking cigarettes throughout the film.

What was happening in the scene with smoking? Rex would casually smoke cigarettes on a regular basis. However, it was more prominent during days when he was stressed or angry.

What was your reaction to seeing the characters using tobacco? Due to the face that Rex had an alcohol addiction, it just added to the fact that he had an addictive personality and how his substance abuse was used as a way to avoid his responsibilities.  It also could be related to his army background as he was an ex-pilot, and smoking was a very common vocation back then. However, while it added to the flaws of his character, it is important that the rating then be adjusted to 18A or R so youth who are viewing the film are not exposed to the dangerous habit.

Did the movie show the real health effects and consequences of tobacco use? No, it did not show the health effects or consequences of tobacco use, but it did show the complications and effects of alcoholism on his body.

Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman (2017) 

Reviewed by: Donna Pan (Program Assistant at Youth Advocacy Training Institute)

Wonder Woman is an action/adventure, war, and science fiction film rated PG-13. It was released on June 2nd 2017 and is the fourth installment of superhero films based off of DC Comics. The film gained popularity and became one of the highest grossing movies that had both a female director-Patty Jenkins, and female lead- Gal Gadot. The film also stars Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, and more. As it is set during the war, I do believe that the rating is accurate due to the mature content and violence that is prevalent throughout the film. With that said, it is a beautifully constructed film that celebrates the power and abilities of women- a message that should be shared amongst all girls.

The film begins with Diana (Wonder Woman) reminiscing about her origins as an Amazonian princess on the island Themyscira. She is told from a young age that Ares is an enemy that works to destroy humankind and so, her mother has always worked to ensure that Diana is isolated from the rest of the world. When Steve Trevor, an American spy, crashes into the water, Diana rescues him and learns about the First World War and believes it is Ares that is causing this violence. The two set out to London, and learn that the German army is working to release a deadly gas as a weapon. Against the Supreme War Council’s orders, they compile a team and head out to Belgium to find Ares and prevent the gas from being released.

Wonder Woman keeps all viewers anxiously rooting for the protagonist to save the day or in this case the world. My favourite part of the film is how Gadot embodies every aspect of the modern day heroine. She is hopeful, unapologetic and quirky to boot. Not only does she catches Trevor’s eye she also leaves every character she interacts with in awe. Time and time again she proves her worth as a strong woman in an unequal world. Moreover, many of the Amazonian women on the island that raised Diana are also fierce women of colour which once again directly contrasts with the patriarchal and white society that is the backdrop for the war.

Was there smoking in the movie? Yes.

tobacco impressions

Who is smoking? Extras throughout the film are found smoking cigarettes.

What was happening in the scene with smoking? Smoking was found in the battlefields and army camps.

Was smoking necessary for the characters in the movie? Smoking was absolutely unnecessary for these characters.

Would you notice if the smoking was taken out of the movie?  No I would not have noticed if the smoking was taken out of the movie.

What was your reaction to seeing the characters use tobacco? I was initially not surprised when I saw that there was smoking in the film because I do understand historically, it was popular for soldiers to smoke during the war. However, as a DC Marvel movie that is aimed at a general audience, it is disappointing to see extras smoking even if it was for brief moments. If cigarettes cannot be purchased in Canada until the legal age of 18, smoking should not be found in movies that are not rated R. It is completely fair to ask that ALL smoking be eliminated from popular films that are meant to attract younger audiences especially when there is conclusive data that a correlation exists between smoking in movies and youth recruitment.

Did the movie show the real health effects and consequences of tobacco use? No, the movie did not show the health effects or consequences that come with tobacco use. There really was no point in having tobacco present in the film other than giving the audience members a perceived message that the writers are pro-tobacco which again play no role in helping Wonder Woman defeat the antagonist and end the war.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Reviewed by: Donna Pan (Program Assistant at Youth Advocacy Training Institute)

Spider-Man: Homecoming is an action, adventure and science fiction film rated PG-13. It was released July 7th 2017 and is directed by Jon Watts. It is another revival based on the Spider-Man franchise created by Marvel Comics and stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover and many more. As it follows Peter Parker’s life in high school, I would say that the target audience would be for all ages with a focus on teenagers as they can relate to the protagonist.

In this latest coming of age remake, Peter Parker is desperate to earn his title as a true avenger by working to please his mentor Tony Stark. Like any superhero, he puts the needs of his community first and is constantly caught in an internal conflict between his priorities and fighting against crime. With great power comes great responsibility right?  Young Spider-Man must look beyond the needs and problems that come with the average 15 year old. In the film, he finds himself head on with Adrian Toomes who is selling advanced lethal weapons after his salvage company was put out of business by Stark Industries. Does Parker choose between helping his decathlon competition win nationals or does he put justice first? What about attending homecoming with the girl of his dreams or bringing down Toomes before he successfully hijacks the weapons of Avengers Tower?

Like any Avengers film, Spider-Man: Homecoming is jam packed with action. While it was incredibly exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat, I would not recommend this film for families with younger children as some of the fight scenes were a little intense. The general age range of audience members would be 8+ years. The most enjoyable part of this film was watching Peter Parker continuously persevere even after he was fired by Tony Stark for meddling. He followed his heart and initial gut instinct and took down Toomes the right way- he could’ve left him to die after the materials began to explode, but Peter still chose to save his life and safely leave him to the police. What is interesting to note is that at the end of the film when Tony Stark finally offers Peter a full-time position as one of the Avengers, he respectfully declines as he chooses to focus on other after school hobbies like a regular teenage boy. I would definitely recommend this film to others and I am excited to see the future sequels that will be each follow a new school year for Peter Parker.

Was there smoking in the movie?

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Did the character appear less believable/realistic because they did not use tobacco? No.

What are the benefits of not having tobacco present on the screen? Having little to no drug or alcohol present in films that are intended for all audience members is crucial in ensuring that younger generations are not influenced by this exposure. Especially when the protagonist of the film is a 15 year old superhero, younger audience members will look to Spider-Man as a role model. Who doesn’t want to be an avenger and fight crime? With that said, as a role model, it is important that Spider-Man embodies every aspect of that.

Why do you think the movie-makers chose to keep tobacco out of this movie? I believe they chose to keep tobacco out of the film because it truly is not necessary to develop the plot or character. At the same time, parents who want to take their children to come see the film would have been deterred had there been tobacco present within the film. Drug and substance abuse in movies has proven to increase the uptake of smoking within youth demographics and so it is highly discouraged across all boards and I am sure it played a role in the movie-makers’ decisions to keep tobacco out of sight.

Cars 3

Cars 3 Movie Poster

Cars 3 (2017)

Reviewed by: Nicole Croes

Cars 3 is a G rated animated action family movie. It was released on June 16th 2017 and is directed by Brian Fee.  It stars the voices of Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Kerry Washington, Larry the Cable Guy and many more. Given its rating, the film is meant for audience members of all ages and this was demonstrated through the 4-30 year old age range of those who were in the theatre.

Cars 3 is a fun family oriented film that delivers excitement to its viewers throughout the film. The movie shows the cycle of “human” life in years (in a way of saying). Since the first movie Cars, was all about one famous race car competing with his competitors, and would still end up being the best race car at the end of the movie. However, Cars 3  weaves a story of friendship between a rookie and its mentor, and illuminates the value in having someone out there in the world that looks at what you can do best and that also makes sure you know it. It’s all about giving back to others what you used to be best in. It is all about making your dreams come true, by putting all your efforts in making someone else’s dream come true while you both share the same dreams.

What was most enjoyable about the movie was that as one of my favourite childhood films, Cars 3 was the one I’ve loved the most due to the story behind it. It shows that friendships can last a long time; it shows that most people should have a mentor like person in their life who can teach them the same things they have in common. It gives me hope in believing that, even though you’re aging, you can still have as much fun by providing what you knew best, to someone that is now learning/discovering what they can do. Besides the expected “bad guys” (or cars) in the film, I don’t think there is one thing I did not like about it.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this film to others. Every one of all ages should watch this film!

Was there smoking in the movie?

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Did the absence of tobacco affect the plot or quality of the movie? No.

Did the character appear less believable/realistic because they did not use tobacco? No.

What are the benefits of not having tobacco present on the screen? It was good that I didn’t see any tobacco on screen because knowing myself, I would always cringe in a children’s movie when I see any sort of drinking/smoking. It just doesn’t seem right in a movie that is catered for all ages. It might also be good for the viewers to not see tobacco use in movies because then it won’t raise any questions from adolescents at such a young age.

Why do you think the movie-makers chose to keep tobacco out of this movie? I believe they chose to keep tobacco out of the film because of their target audience. Most of their target audience for this movie are children. They could have lost a lot of viewers by having tobacco use in the film. The very first Cars was such a tremendous hit that they HAD to be careful with the finale for their franchise.

Boss Baby

Boss Baby ENG

The Boss Baby (2017)

Video review by : Sudbury District Youth

Release Date: March 31st 2017

Rated: PG

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family Film

Was there smoking in this movie?

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Please click here to see review!

A Dog’s Purpose

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A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Video review by: Niagara Region Youth

Release Date: January 27th 2017

Rating: PG

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family Film

Was there smoking in this movie?

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Please click here to see review

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