Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘Integral Man’

Posted in Hot Docs 2017 by - April 27, 2017
Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘Integral Man’

There are likely to be many immediate responses from the first minutes of Integral Man. I’m not sure any of them are intended, but they will determine whether or not you want to continue watching.

A film celebrating a successful and renowned man in the final years of his life, living a last act full of art, beauty, and entertainment, is instantly off-putting. At an hour’s length, a narration and interview in the first ten minutes will distance between you from the subject, unless you too are an affluent connoisseur of the finer things in life, while the rest of the film slowly brings you closer, albeit too late.

This doting documentary follows a rich, brilliant, and successful Jim Stewart, regarded Canadian mathematician and artist, on his journey to build what he calls his ‘final house.’ Someone says early on that he lives a risky life because he is willing to put faith in construction in the hands of some globally noted architects. That and other comments are easy to scoff at if you’re not in the same lifestyle.

Which you needn’t be to enjoy a documentary, it’s just an indication the film isn’t doing a good job at opening up this world

Still, Integral Man is a thoughtful reflection on Stewart, with glimpses into some of his final hosting events and performances. There is whimsy and curiosity; it’s just catered to a very specific audience; those that would be invited, or wanted to get in, to Stewart’s exclusive parties.

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