Death of a Superhero premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011 and is presumably now on its way to wide release in theaters across the continent – no idea when it’ll be released, though. Ian Fitzgibbon directed the film, which is an adaptation of Anthony McCarten‘s novel. It’s a coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old boy named Donald (played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster) who is struggling with leukemia on top of your typical teenage boy shit. He’s an aspiring comic book artist and this is reflected in the film’s incorporation of CGI art and live-action. His family sends him to a therapist and he finds a girl, yadda yadda yadda. Watch the trailer and more details about the film are included below the cut.
Has anybody seen this film when it was at the film festival?
Hit the jump for TIFF’s summary of the film:
After several cycles of chemotherapy, fourteen-year-old Donald (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) feels he has little left to hope for. Worst of all, he might die a virgin. Director Ian FitzGibbon’s film, adapted by Anthony McCarten from his novel of the same name, is a poignant coming-of-age story with a dark undertone, addressing the most painful of circumstances alongside a rich and often humorous treatment of classic teen preoccupations.
When Donald’s parents urge him to confront his feelings, he retreats further into his own head, channelling his thoughts into sinister and eerily beautiful comic book drawings. In the universe of his sketches, Donald is no longer a skinny teen with leukemia. Instead, he becomes a brawny superhero dedicated to fighting his archenemy: a mad scientist called the The Glove, who wields syringes for fingers.
Donald’s parents send him to Dr. Adrian King (Andy Serkis in a decidedly human role), a therapist with a matter-of-fact approach to death who challenges Donald’s defensive attitude. Despite his initial resistance, Donald finds himself opening up to the doctor, who treats him as an adult rather than a child to be pitied. Better yet, he strikes up a promising friendship with a fellow misfit named Shelly (Aisling Loftus).
With his lanky frame and awkward, hesitant charm, Brodie-Sangster captures both the anger and vulnerability of a teen struggling with school, dorky parents and gonna-bust hormones — on top of trials no young person should ever have to face. His sharp emotional performance is enhanced by animated sequences involving his graphic alter ego and The Glove, which play out in an unsettling palette of washed-out blacks, greys and reds that emphasize just how far Donald has come from the rosy world of children’s cartoons.