Hot Docs 2018: Our Review Of ‘I’m Leaving Now’

Hot Docs 2018: Our Review Of ‘I’m Leaving Now’

During I’m Leaving Now’s early moments, we watch a man pick cans and bottles out of dumpsters. The camera, planted on his rickety shopping cart, shakes and rattles, practically fighting him as he drags his loot through the cold New York streets. This is Felipe Hernández’ daily routine. He’s undocumented and forced to scrape by on a modest income. Co-directors Lindsey Cordero and Armando Croda’s I’m Leaving Now spends two years following Felipe’s quest for love, forgiveness, and a place where he belongs.

Felipe makes for a compelling documentary subject; the camera loves him and he loves the camera. It soaks up every bit of Felipe’s larger than life presence. He may be an undocumented resident but he’s not one to keep a low profile. Felipe walks through his Brooklyn neighbourhood in a sombrero, singing ballads, and greeting locals. He wears his love of back home on his sleeve, though, he hasn’t gone back in 16-years.

Felipe migrated to America to create a better life for his family back home and ever since he arrived stateside, he’s had one foot out the door. Felipe converts most of his money into pesos to send back to his family. And he does so while living in a space so tiny his bathroom door doubles as a kitchen shelf. Waiting back home is a wife and children, including a teenage son he hasn’t met. But things back in Mexico have changed. His family has mismanaged their finances and his wife’s feelings towards him may have cooled. Throughout the film we watch Felipe wrestle with choosing between his current life and the one he left behind.

At 70-minutes long, I’m Leaving Now is short but not sweet. Without Felipe and his charismatic personality, this film would be a total slog.

I’m Leaving Now showtimes:
Saturday, April 28, 6:00 PM, Scotiabank Theatre 07
Monday, April 30, 2:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 04
Sunday, May 06, 5:30 PM,  TIFF Bell Lightbox 04

This post was written by
Victor Stiff is a Toronto-based freelance writer and pop culture curator. Victor currently contributes insights, criticisms, and reviews to several online publications where he has extended coverage to the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Toronto After Dark, Toronto ComiCon, and Fan Expo Canada. Victor has a soft spot in his heart for Tim Burton movies and his two poorly behaved beagles (but not in that order).
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