“EVERYBODY’S GAY!” shouts a Toronto newspaper headline. But like it or not, two popular subjects you can expect in the days ahead are same-sex marriages and gender fluidity. One audience favorite is Freeheld, adapted by Ron Nyswaner, the openly gay Oscar winner who wrote Philadelphia, from the true story of closeted lesbian New Jersey cop Laurel Hester (another brave, poignant performance by Julianne Moore) and her butch partner, sexy mechanic Stacie Andree (Ellen Page). Laurel’s new lifestyle alienates her fellow cops and leaves her boyfriend (Michael Shannon) feeling betrayed, but as time passes and old wounds heal, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and the women are forced to face the reality of both death and what comes after. The movie follows Laurel’s desperate efforts to transfer her policemen’s union pension benefits to Stacie with the aid of a compassionate gay rights activist (a surprising turn by Steve Carell) who helps them challenge the prejudice of homophobic elected county officials determined to uphold “community standards.” Ellen Page, who has come a long way since Juno, says reading about this news story is what inspired her to come out of the closet herself and become a vociferous fighter for equal rights.
The most controversial unveiling at TIFF is the gorgeous, heartbreaking British film The Danish Girl, starring the spectacular Eddie Redmayne as 1920s transgender pioneer Lili Elbe, who was a talented landscape artist named Einar Wegener in Copenhagen, happily married to a loyal and devoted but less talented portrait painter named Gerda (Alicia Vikander). Slowly, when Einar first begins to realize his female side after trying on Gerda’s negligees, he takes the form of a shy lady cousin named Lili, polishing female postures, makeup and fashions, and perfecting the gestures and feelings of a woman while posing for exotic nudes that make his wife a celebrity in her own right. When Einar bites the bullet and makes the life-changing decision to undergo the experimental surgeries in Dresden that were unheard of at the time, Gerda stays by his side until his untimely death. Meticulously directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), this amazing film, based on Lili’s personal diaries published in 1933, is a medical-research thriller and unconventional heterosexual love story compromised by God and nature that will unquestionably register strongly at the American box office when it opens in November and rise to the top of the predictions in the forthcoming awards season.
The mass cultural elites are not promoting an agenda at all...