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TIFF21 Capsule Review: “Jagged” Showcases The Success of Alanis Morissette’s Most Famous Record and Its Aftermath

Alanis Morrisette

Alanis Morissette’s dark, wavy hair falling over her face, the role of speechless God in Dogma, or Ironic – the audience all over the world recognizes her for a variety of reasons. Throughout the years, the Canadian musician released several successful albums. There is, however, one that started it all. Alison Klayman’s documentary Jagged depicts Alanis Morissette’s life, particularly the beginnings of her extremely successful album, Jagged Little Pill, and the tour that followed.

As Alanis sits in the chair in front of the camera with her legs folded, she explains that Jagged Little Pill was an attempt to become empowered. The singer talks about the writing, her childhood tv show titled You Can’t Do That On Television, shooting videos, and about You Oughta Know, the song from the album that essentially sparked her career and made her famous after airing on KROQ-FM. 

But Jagged is more than just an illustration of Alanis’ efforts to create one of the most successful albums in the world. As the documentary progresses, the musician delves deeper into more serious issues, such as her struggle with eating disorder and Hollywood’s rape culture. “Women don’t wait. Culture doesn’t listen,” she says why we hear about women coming out with accusations years later.

As Jagged progresses, there is a furthermore discussion about partly negative reception of the record. Many interviewees mention it in talks with the producers and express their frustration with the critics and, specifically, male critics’ response to the “female rage” emanating from Morissette’s album.

In summary, Jagged is a film about Alanis Morissette’s most famous album and its execution, but it goes deeper than this sole topic. It discusses the singer’s life after her worldwide fame erupted and the depth of of her lyrics. It showcases the maturity of then 19-year-old musician and the way she handled sudden fame and stress that goes with it.

It means even more to me to see the work on Jagged Little Pill because it is my favorite Alanis Morissette album. Growing up, it had a big influence on me, especially You Oughta Know and Ironic. The documentary hits home even more for those who have personal ties to the album. It’s a must-see for music fans, Alanis fans, and those who have yet to discover the singer’s angelic voice and powerful lyrics.

Despite recent reports that the singer doesn’t want anything to do with the new HBO Max documentary, it’s still worthy to view the documentary and see the path to creating Jagged Little Pill.

Grade: A

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TIFF21 Capsule Review: “Petite Maman” is An Imaginative, Emotional, Innocent Drama About Childlike Wonder

Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz in “Petite Maman” / Neon.

We’ve all felt a pull towards our heritage, our family’s past, especially as children. We want to know what our parents were like when they were our age. In their spare time, what did they enjoy doing? Petite Maman is about all of this, but it’s so much more. Céline Sciamma’s latest drama film is an elaborative, often emotional film that beautifully depicts a mother-daughter relationship, family ties, and the magic of childlike wonder.

After 8-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) loses her grandmother, whom she adored, the little girl assists her mother (Nina Meurisse) and father (Stéphane Varupenne) in cleaning her mother’s childhood home located near the forest. Shortly after, Nelly meets Marion (Gabrielle Sanz) as she explores the surrounding area. Struggling to accept her grandmother’s death, Nelly helps the newly-met friend build a hut in the middle of the forest. The girls grow closer to each other over time, sharing many secrets that connect them in an unusual, beautiful way. 

sJoséphine Sanz and Nina Meurisse in “Petite Maman” / Neon.

Petite Maman begins quietly, nostalgically, and subtly, laced with sadness, departure, and grief. Because of personal reasons, the first act hits extremely close to home. My wound from losing my grandmother not long ago hasn’t healed yet. As a result, watching Sciamma’s latest work feels extremely relatable. Especially when Nelly tells her mother, “I didn’t say goodbye to her. The last goodbye wasn’t good. Because I didn’t know”. The similarities don’t end with that. In addition, as a young girl, I lived very close to the forest. I spent time exploring various paths, just as Nelly, and discovering many hiding spots.

Although initially very personal and heartbreaking, the film has a rather innocent tone as told from the perspectives of Nelly and Marion. Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz are at the heart of the film, stealing the spotlight from every other supporting character. The young actresses are thoroughly endearing and sweet. Their characters truly embody the childlike wonder and curiosity that we, as adults, often lose as we get older.

Petite Maman, written and directed by Sciamma, tells an extraordinary story. The film’s imaginative viewpoint and truths hidden between the lines all resurface at the film’s emotional conclusion.

The film is an excellent choice to kick off the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s subtle but powerful. It’s both innocent and heartbreaking. It will elicit reflection afterward and linger in our minds as we go about our day.

Grade: 10 out of 10.