Thank You For Smoking (2005)
Thank You For Smoking is wickedly funny! Jason Reitman hit a home run in directing his first feature film.
I just got back from the Ryerson Theatre where Reitman introduced the film and did a Q&A afterward. I can’t believe that he’s still in town!
The film is an intelligent comedy about a tobacco industry lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart. His character, Nick Naylor, is charming, ruthless and hilarious as he goes about defending the “big tobacco” companies.
In the Q&A following the film, Reitman said he wanted to make a film about industry lobbyists. He felt that the tobacco industry was by far the most interesting. Christopher Buckley’s novel, Thank You for Smoking was a perfect fit. Reitman adapted the screenplay from Buckley’s book which is supposed to be even funnier than the film.
The cast is terrific and includes Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Sam Elliot, Todd Louiso, Katie Holmes and Maria Bello. This film is going to be a sure hit when it is released next year.
The opening title sequence is fabulous—the best I’ve seen all year. The credits are written on colourful cigarette boxes that playfully animate. Why can’t all movies be this creative with their titles?
Jeff Wigand’s name is listed in the credits. Russell Crowe played Wigand in the 1999 film, The Insider. Wigand was a whistle blower against big tobacco. During the Q&A it was revealed that Wigand was a consultant for the film.
When Jeff Wigand was shown the script he didn’t really say if he liked it, but he sent it back to Reitman with a lot of notes concerning inaccurate information. It’s rumoured that Wigand never consults for a film where the actors smoke on screen. In Reitman’s film, nobody is shown smoking.
The Toronto International Film Festival is now over and I’m happy that I was able to end it with this film—probably my favourite.