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This is me at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this fall.

Movies for me have always been a secret way to spy on others. I’ve had emotions my whole life and it’s been a big problem because they weren’t allowed in my house growing up. Because I was isolated physically and emotionally, movies were one of the ways I discovered that other people suffered emotions too. I’d see how a mother and daughter might interact, or discover that crying was acceptable. I’d feel the validation that disappointment happened to others, and the acknowledgement that forgiveness is real.

Even the least popular movies were wonderful for me, because they suggested that there was no shame in having emotions. There they were, on display, larger than life.

That is why I willingly signed on to watch ten shows in the space of 72 hours at TIFF this year. I am a lifelong movie lover and this event did not disappoint. Some movies were great, some were weird, some were not good at all, but overall, the artistic endeavor to depict the human condition in whatever way offered, is fascinating to me.

My favorites this year:

Blackbird with Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Kate Winslet and Rainn Wilson, and

Dads, the documentary directed by Ron Howard’s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard.