TADFF 2013: MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH Defies And Surprises

And the winner for Best Q&A at Toronto After Dark 2013 is... envelope please... (rip tear rip)... DON THACKER from MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH!!! 

Ian Folivor, a depressed and reclusive 30-something, finds himself taking advice from a growth in his bathroom after a failed suicide attempt. The Mold, a smooth talking fungus who was born of the filth collecting in a corner of Ian's neglected bathroom, works to win Ian's trust by helping him clean himself up and remodel his lifestyle. With The Mold's help, Ian attracts the attention of a neighbor he's been ogling through his peephole, Leah, and he manages to find a slice of happiness despite his unnatural circumstances. But Ian starts to receive strange messages from his old and broken down TV set that make him realize that The Mold may not be as helpful as it seems to be, and strange characters combined with stranger events cast Ian's life in the shadow of an epic battle between good and evil that Ian is only partially aware of. 

I cannot put a label on Motivational Growth. It is just so... odd. And funny. And gross. And touching. It defies description and definition. It stood their, challenging me to put a label on it. But nothing would stick. It is at times inspiring and introspective. Then other times it is exploitative and unpredictable. Combine wonderful characters with creative direction. Drop in 16-bit animated sequences and wrap it all up with soundtrack of chiptunes by Alex Mauer and you have a delicious and delirious cinematic treat. It cannot be packaged and sold for it is a gift to the cinematic masses. And here is why...

Thacker's knack for linguistic largess cracks like lightening. His gift for gab is tip top. This may very well be the best dialogue I have heard in a film this year. And the way that Jeffrey Coombs as 'THE' Mold croons? I want to buy whatever it is that he is selling. Oddly enough, I imagine it would be fried chicken. But his tongue (does he have one?) is as sharp as a serpent's and the poison of vipers is on his lips (those he does have!). You know right from the start of MG that you are in for linguistic treat as Ian opens with his first dialogue about suicidal fish, scheming houseplants, bed sores, the importance of defecating and it's relation to the meaning of life, killer kittens and using household items to carry out his own suicide attempt. 

From that moment on a number of equally bizarre and interesting characters from the possibly evil television repair-man Plasmoday, his ham-fisted landlord Box the Ox, and grocery delivery girl Vanessa (played by Hannah Stevenson, who may or may not be Rachel McAdams' doppelganger). And then there is Leah. As in Princess Leah. As in the girl next door who captures Ian's heart and imagination and takes it upon herself to find out more about the mysterious guy staring at her through the peephole in his door every time she passes by at 10:16. 

And with that begins the struggle for Ian's life between himself and 'THE' Mold. Who has the right idea for what is good for Ian? As 'THE' Mold takes over Ian begins to fend for himself. He is like the child who learns to walk and is soon running just out of reach from the grasp (clutches?) of his fungal father. But reality is about to catch up to Ian and he may or may not like and accept what he is about to see. For as as the lines between fantasy and reality blur ever more as Ian's story comes to a close, just as Ian, we may not be sure ourselves of what is real or not real. So we also have to choose what we believe to be real in this story. 

And we applaud his choice at the end. For it is the right choice. 
Around the Internet:
  • Considering the huge gaps between the Little Shop of Horror films this seems due, looking forward to no doubt having to slavishly hunt it down in the near future.

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