Canadian Music Week Film Fest Review: The History of Future Folk

Published on March 20th, 2013 in: Current Faves, Film Festivals, Movie Reviews, Movies, Music, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

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Despite being set in modern times, The History of Future Folk feels like a movie from 30 years ago. Recall, if you will, when niches weren’t quite so niche-y, and a movie could include comedy, drama, romance, science fiction, and/or suspense without being a rom com, a dramedy, or a sci-mance (I just made that last one up).

It’s a shame that self-congratulatory cynicism has also infected the cinematic realm, particularly when it comes to criticism or just people blabbing on the Internet. The History of Future Folk is a movie that is sweet, charming, funny, and exciting, but not corny or cloying. You could take your mom to see it and neither of you would be embarrassed. It’s genuinely warmhearted and enjoyable, which is a rarity these days.

How a movie like Future Folk will be received says more about the current culture than the movie’s actual strengths, of which there are many. The story is pretty original, even if snarkers might snark that it’s a Tenacious D rip off. I love the D, but Future Folk is a different kind of Sasquatch.

First of all, there is a lot less swearing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Secondly, they don’t play metal. Finally, their back-story is—despite being pretty fanciful and high concept—more believable than the admittedly funny hijinks in the Tenacious D lexicon.

Yet, it all makes perfect sense. Or at least we go along with it. A lot of this is due to the realistic performances of the cast and their reactions to the nutty goings-on. If you found out that someone you thought you knew wasn’t actually someone you knew at all, how would you react? The main core of the story isn’t about finding true love, marriage, or kids (though all those factor in), it’s about some guys from outer space who play music. And save the world. By remaining true to those ideas, The History of Future Folk manages to make all of the various genres it incorporates blend into a delightful concoction.

Kudos to co-directors Jeremy Kipp Walker and John Mitchell (who also scripted the movie) for creating such a fresh, fun, and surprisingly thought-provoking film, and for lead actors Nils d’Aulaire and Jay Klaitz for making the world of Future Folk seem real.

The History of Future Folk screens on Friday March 22, 9:15 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, ON as part of Canadian Music Week Film Fest 13.

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