Monday, October 21, 2013

Sean Kelly

TADFF13: My Thoughts on Motivational Growth


The very weird dark comedy Motivational Growth focuses on an agoraphobic man named Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni).  Ian hasn’t left his apartment for 16 months and spends the majority of his time channel surfing on the TV.  When the TV suddenly breaks down, Ian doesn’t know what to do and event attempts committing suicide by mixing chemicals in his bathtub.  When the attempt fails, Ian finds out that a giant mildew growth on the wall, known only as The Mold (voiced by Jeffrey Combs), has started talking to him.  The Mold offers to help get Ian out of the funk he is in and even help Ian court his attractive neighbour Leah (Danielle Doetsch).  However, it quickly turns out that The Mold has ulterior motives and Ian learns the downside of trusting a motivational growth.

One thing that is immediately apparent while watching Motivational Growth is that it is a very weird film.  The entire film takes place within Ian’s apartment, with very few characters other than Ian and The Mold.  In fact, much of the film consists of Ian breaking the fourth wall and narrating directly to the audience.  There are other characters that show up, such as Ian’s landlord Box the Ox and a delivery woman named Vanessa.  There are also an odd bunch of characters on the TV shows Ian watches, such an alien police officer and a bipolar fitness instructor.

The main highlight of Motivational Growth is Jeffrey Combs’ voice over performance of The Mold, which is performed by a very impressive looking animatronic puppet.  Combs voices The Mold in a very soft-spoken, yet vaguely menacing, manner.  By the time the film is finished, you will have lines such as “The Mold knows Jack” stuck in your head.  While Motivational Growth is not a horror film per se, there are some moments of shocking violence late in the film when The Mold begins to reveal its true nature.

Motivational Growth is also filled with a lot of odes to nerd and geek culture.  The film is scored entirely in 8-bit style midi music and even has a scene animated in the style of an 8-bit video game.  There is also a commercial in the film for a game called Starr Mazer, which is apparently truly in development. 

Overall, while Motivational Growth is not exactly the type of film that would be enjoyed by mainstream audiences, it is sure to receive a cult following.  There is a lot of weirdness at play in this film and that is of the highest compliment.


Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).