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NDP Leader Jack Layton was fluently bilingual, glib, sometimes flashy, full of energy and always media-friendly. He loved to entertain and uplift his co-workers with a strum on his guitar and spirit in his voice (which wasn't particularly good but he sang with gusto). Growing up in a political family, Layton was a left-wing Toronto city councillor for 17 years and spent a year as head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He became leader of the federal New Democratic Party in 2003. In his first election as leader the NDP won 20 seats and in the 2008 election the NDP was up to 37 seats. Jack was a happily married man, with wife Olivia Chow who stood by his side, and together they were a political dynamo couple very much in love to the end. Things changed late in the 2011 federal election when a surge in polls in Quebec held and the NDP won 103 seats, 59 of them in Quebec. The NDP became the Official Opposition for the first time in history. Going into the 2011 federal election... Written by
Whether or not you liked Jack Layton --- and I didn't, particularly --- this is an amazingly well done portrait of the man and his career. Rick Roberts has captured Layton's persona brilliantly, both the older Layton who led the NDP and the horn rimmmed, shirtsleeved firebrand in his days on Toronto council. It becomes a little overwrought towards the end as Layton succumbs to his cancer. And there is the odd moment where one expects a halo to pop up over Layton's head. But on the whole, it is an excellent package with brilliant acting and some innovative camera work. They have made very effective use of TV clips (all from the CBC, of course. But it would have been nice to have seen some other media as well.)This is the sort of thing the CBC is supposed to be doing and they did it very well. It becomes a worthy shelf mate of excellent earlier films about Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas and Rene Levesque.
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