Sunday (aka Day 4) was by far the best day of the festival so far with a two-punch hit of amazing movies.
I could have made it three movies had I stayed for the Indian film The Lunchbox (starring Irrfan Khan). But due to technical difficulties with the subtitles, I decided to leave early and get into the ever-growing rush line of Gravity at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
Seeing that I got to the line around four hours early, I can safely say that it was insane. We were about 40 people behind the front. But when I looked behind me, the line was reaching all the way to Queen and John (I was at King and John).
The following picture is only just the front of the line!
But while I had four hours to wait, I was able to step out of the line while my friend held a spot for me to check out the red carpet for Philomena. People were mostly there to see if Dame Judi Dench was going to show up but alas, it was not meant to be. I did see Steve Coogan though!
The crowd outside the theatre was also insane. While Sandra Bullock was expected to come, everyone was hoping for a surprise visit by George Clooney, who co-stars in Gravity. After all, Brad Pitt did the same thing and I even managed to see him for a couple of fleeting seconds!
When I got back to the line, things got even crazier. While I knew the lineup to get into the venue was getting longer and longer, it looked like we were pushed back from the line even more! This was annoying because people were obviously letting in more than one person with them. They clearly did not follow rush line etiquette.
With about three and a half hours later, I started to hear screams upon Sandra Bullock’s arrival…making me realize that the screening was going to start soon and we would know our fate of whether we were going to get in or not. The line got even busier and even the people behind us were being inconsiderate by letting in more and more people to join them in line. (It was a good thing they were not in front of us)
After about 40 more minutes of waiting (I’m telling you, rushing films is not glamourous!), we were finally given a token and sent into the theatre. When we entered the the venue to get our tickets, we were greeted with whoops and cheers by employees and volunteers.
It was exciting to be back into the theatre having been there a year ago for the world premiere of The Place Beyond the Pines. Seeing as Gravity is a space movie, former astronauts Chris Hadfield and Roberta Bondar were also present!
What was also cool was seeing Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuarón in person. I used to watch Miss Congeniality religiously and knowing that Cuarón directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I quickly forgot about the grueling four hour wait and was pumped to see the film.
As for what I felt about the film, it exceeded my expectations. If I could describe it in three words, it would be terrifying, gorgeous and phenomenal. Seriously, the movie was an out of this world (pun intended) experience. Filmed in 3D, the view of space is a technological breakthrough in cinema. It truly is a marvel to watch.
The acting for this film was also top-notch. Seeing that it was mostly a one woman show of Bullock’s emotionally unstable character trying to navigate through space, the film would not have worked had it not have been her strong performance. I am quite sure, she will be considered for an Oscar this year.
As for Sandra herself, she is a complete class act and seems very down to earth. What I really enjoyed during the Q&A session of the film was how she said she felt incredibly lucky to be part of the movie. With the main role of the film going to a female, she felt grateful that Cuarón chose to go with a woman when the role could have easily went to a man as well.
Also a good highlight, was when Chris Hadfield made an appearance on stage to answer a question about how realistic the film’s portrayal of space is. Charming as can be, Hadfield kept his answers diplomatic. Instead, he said he would love to fly with Sandra Bullock if he goes to space again.
It was also awesome to see Cuarón talking about his vision for the film. I’ve only been impressed with one other 3D film (which was Martin Scorsese’s Hugo) and Gravity was certainly a film made for 3D. While I have never been to space (nor do I plan to ever want to go after that film), watching it was seriously quite an experience. With debris flying at you and the view of the stars on screen, Gravity is truly a cinematic masterpiece.