Watching a film about Jack Layton barely two years after his most untimely death, there is one question you have to ask: Is it too soon?
The tears are barely dry, and it seems only yesterday the beautiful chalk tributes were scrubbed from Toronto City Hall at the behest of Toronto's current mayor.
But upon viewing the film, one realizes it will merely be the first of many. Jack Layton's life was rich with story, and Jack the film is just the first dramatic survey of the life of Jack Layton.
Jack opens on the eve of the 2011 federal election where the NDP, the fourth place party, transfigured itself into the Official Opposition. The hoary party of aging hippies and prairies socialists became, under the tutelage of the urban rainbow warrior, the Orange Crush. That the NDP's great modern mentor should succumb to cancer within months of the acme of political success made this the stuff of tragedy.
But everybody already knows the ending, so the back story is told in flashbacks. These provide the insight to Jack's early career in Toronto municipal politics and that most beautiful subplot of Jack's life, his love affair with Olivia Chow...Cue the soap opera organ. Then gag moi with a moustache brush.
As for the party being "hoary": after being tutored by a chap with a known predilection for the old rub 'n' tug, surely it was more "whorey" than "hoary" (rimshot!).