TIFF ’10: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “Jack Goes Boating”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: We’re officially one week away from the 35th Toronto International Film Festival, and we still have so much left to discuss in our “Road to Toronto” feature.

The fest kicks off on Sept. 9, and HollywoodNews.com will be on the ground bringing you reviews, interviews, and a clearer glimpse at the ever-shifting Oscar race.

To read our previous preview columns, punch “TIFF” into our search window. Today, we’re on a boat — and in a handful of difficult New York relationships — as Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his anticipated directorial debut.

Jack Goes Boating

The Plot: A lonely guy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) learns to swim when the girl he starts dating (Amy Ryan) asks to go boating. As their relationship improves, the marriage of Jack’s closest friends falls apart.

The Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Cast: John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Amy Ryan and Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Scoop: After years spent dazzling audiences with his work in front of the camera, Hoffman climbs behind the lens and into the director’s chair to adapt Bob Glaudini’s Off-Broadway play. The film played Sundance earlier this year and received good reviews, with Variety and The Hollywood Reporter singing its praises. It’s easy to see why. Hoffman convinced Glaudini to write his own screenplay, then surrounded himself with talent like Ryan, Ortiz and Rubin-Vega. I can’t wait to see if “Jack” sinks or swims, but with Hoffman at the helm, I think the latter is a safe bet.

Awards Potential: Oscar veterans Hoffman (won for “Capote”) and Ryan (nominated for “Gone Baby Gone”) could attract the Academy’s eye. And while it’s unlikely Hoffman will work his way into the Best Director race, Glaudini certainly could make some noise in the Screenplay category if “Boating” sails away from TIFF on waves of positive buzz.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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