By Monica Heisey
Bruno (Greg Calderone) has woken up beside Caroline (Georgina Reilly), and hopes this means his longtime unrequited crush will take a turn for the mutual, but Caroline is leaving for school in Paris the next day, and he’s promised her backstage passes. Directed by Bruce McDonald, This Movie is Broken blends fiction with reality to tell the story of longtime friends spending one last day together at the Broken Social Scene Harbourfront Concert of 2009 with Bruno’s friend Blake (Kerr Hewitt).
While the backstage pass issue is quickly resolved—as attendees of the show will recall, it was offered for free after the venue change from the Toronto island—the real problem, Bruno’s feelings for Caroline despite her assertions that their time together was ‘just sex’, is worked out throughout the course of the concert, as shots of the band rocking out mix with Bruno and Caroline kissing, fighting, and finally, separating.
This movie is pure Toronto. The fictional plot’s reliance on the real events of the past summer—the garbage strike, the cancelled Island show and last minute decision to hold the concert at Harbourfront for free—makes the movie feel specific and current. Whether this will become a negative as the movie ages remains to be seen, but it was exciting to spot friends in the crowd shots of the show and recall my own experience of that night just last year. The three beautiful young things that comprise the core cast frolic around some of my favourite places in the city, passing a stinky Christie Pitts and brunching at the Drake, and Broken Social Scene’s Toronto origins are emphasized by the band themselves in their shout-outs to the city. The band and their music are characters in the film in their own right, and the concert footage/tunes provide the perfect soundtrack for the action while also serving as a reminder of BSS’ incredible talent (and how glorious it is when they reunite in their complete form).
Somewhat hazy and ethereal, the film feels like the fond-if-fuzzy recollections of a great night out. A moment towards the end of the movie has been contested by a few critics and movie-goers as interrupting the flow of the film—I won’t spoil it for anyone, but let’s just say it is a sexy good time, and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with two hot dudes drunkenly lovin’ on each other—but I felt it added to the mood being created: the once-in-a-lifetime, anything-can-happen-tonight ethos that summer nights with good music and good friends can evoke without warning.