Saturday, March 30, 2013


- A biopic chronicling the life and political career of the late New Democratic Party leader; Jack Layton.

- Sook-Yin Lee, Zachary Bennett, Rick Roberts, Joel  S. Keller

I must admit that I have had this movie on my PVR since it aired on TV March 10th of this year.  I was reluctant to watch it. The life's story of Jack Layton was one that as a Torontonian, I have been very familiar with - coupled with the fact that Jack's journey with cancer had overlapped that of my dad's journey.  When my dad became ill, I thought of Jack a lot.  And having met Jack personally from my days working at the Regent Park Resident's Association, I wanted this movie to be not only good - but also true to who Jack was. I didn't want it to be corny. But as anyone who ever met Jack, ever watched a debate, ever attended a rally, knew - Jack was corny. Jack was a ham. And that was one of the many endearing attributes, which made Jack - Jack!

Today - ironically on my dad's birthday - I decided to watch 'Jack' ...and I admit that I was moved to tears. Not only because of the knowledge of how the story would end, but, just as in life, the movie really left you with no choice but to cheer Jack on!

Highlighting the earlier years of his career, during the '80's, when he was very much the underdog - and often times a punchline, taking flack from many people across the country for speaking up for the 'little people'. Jack was always - always... not only the 'people's politician' ... but also the 'people's voice'. And as you watched Jack claw his way up the political ladder, when he finally became Official Leader of the Opposition - you could not help but feel proud of Jack!

This movie also allowed us a window into the true and ever-lasting love affair between Jack and his beautiful wife Olivia. I admit that on more than one occasion I caught myself smiling through tears as their story unfolded on the screen. Especially the flashlight scenes. (If you have seen this movie - you know what I mean. And if you haven't seen it ... you have missed out.)

I could not help but be reminded of Olivia's strength and courage as she walked the streets of Toronto during the funeral precession after Jack's passing.  Poised. Elegant. And truly his sunshine.

If you haven't seen this movie, I urge you to do so - especially if you are a Canadian. It is a touching and triumphant story of a man who dared to make a difference!

I am giving 'Jack' 4 boxes off popcorn!

There is only one fitting way to close this review, with Jack's own final words to the Canadian people he love so much.

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,
Jack Layton"