An emotionally satisfying experience in Toronto, and a film that pushes Oscar buttons

September 8, 2014 3:28 PM

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An emotionally satisfying experience in Toronto, and a film that pushes Oscar buttons

When you’re at a film festival, you live for those moments of certainty, the sense that you’re watching something that clicks, that connects, and that matters, either to you or the popular culture at large. They don’t come too often. I can still recall coming out of a theater at Sundance after seeing a daytime screening of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” blinking in the sun with a handful of other slack-jawed media folk as we tried to process what we’d just seen.

Toronto hasn’t offered that sort of A-level epiphany (yet), but two less rarified movies have come reasonably close. “The Last Five Years” is the most emotionally satisfying experience I’ve had at this year’s festival — yes, an adaptation of a musical; yes, starring Anna Kendrick — and in its small-...

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