WFF 2014 Review: After the Ball

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We all have kryptonite. I have more kryptonite than most. If the movie involves dancing, cheerleading, drumlines, high school drama, Shakespeare, modern interpretations of Shakespeare, or re-telling fairy tales, I’ve probably seen it or want to see it. I simply can’t help myself. This is my candy and I love to bite into a new bar. Rarely is that new bar completely fulfilling. Even rarer, like, white elephant rare, is when that piece of candy happens to be Canadian. I’m pretty sure the last one was How She Move (review) and that was a long, long time ago.

What first caught my attention about After the Ball is director Sean Garrity. A few years ago Garrity really impressed with a great little thriller titled Blood Pressure so when I saw his name attached, I didn’t look any further. I knew I had to see this. Imagine my surprise when I read the description to find that After the Ball is basically Cinderella meets “Twelfth Night” set in the fashion industry.

Portia Doubleday stars as Kate, a talented fashion grad who is trying to get a job in the world of haute couture. She’s talented but her family name is problematic. Her father owns a consumer friendly fashion line that, in the past, has been known to steal couture designs and re-package them for the mall crowd. Defeated, Kate returns home and decides, against her initial floundering, to take on a job at the family business. She squares off against her terrible step mother and two despicable (and dumb) step sisters, gets fired, returns in disguise and falls in love with the in house shoe designer – played by, no less, Marc-André Grondin.

Jackpot.


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A Canadian fashion comedy/romance starring Marc-André Grondin. Did the stars really align like this? Is this movie for real? The answer to both of those is a resounding yes and After the Ball delivers exactly the kind of light and fluffy entertainment it promises. There’s quick wit, a likeable lead, a handsome leading man, chemistry between the two leads, laughs and a script that doesn’t simply villainize or victimize the female characters.

Doubleday is great playing double duty as the two characters, Grondin is charming as the leading man, Lauren Holly is rather brilliant as the evil stepmother, Chris Noth kills the suit and glasses look while Mimi Kuzyk and Carlo Rota (if Stanley Tucci isn’t available for your over the top, gay man role, call Rota. Actually, it would be great to see them playing brothers!) steal every scene they’re in.

After the Ball was a huge surprise, the kind of movie you don’t get to see at a festival but which is so sorely needed among the heavy dramas. An endlessly entertaining comedy that fires on all cylinders. I can’t wait to see it again!