Hubley’s bittersweet fairytale focuses primarily on Mona Peek (Lily Rabe), a woman who begins to finally react to the death of her father when her childhood home is sold. Mona’s in a fragile place, something we understand immediately, as she gets into an argument with an animated reflection of herself in a train window just as the film begins. Not the most grounded and stable behavior, to be sure, but before we can jump to conclusions, Hubley introduces a few more characters that help fill us in on Mona’s back story. Of course, since this is an Emily Hubley film, that Greek chorus is a Cartoon chorus instead. These bickering animated animals—voiced by David Cross, Eli Wallach, Don Byron, Marian Seldes, and Andrea Martin—both comment on the story and directly impact the plot’s progression. Hubley doesn’t appear too concerned with the reality of their imposition on the three-dimensional world, and in this way, they become creative manifestations of fate itself. A lofty idea, perhaps, but under Hubley’s supervision, it doesn’t feel pretentious. —Hammer to Nail
Emily Hubley’s first feature film, The Toe Tactic had its theatrical premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in January 2009 and was released on DVD by Kino International in the Fall. In 2008, the film screened at numerous prestigious film festivals including SXSW, New Directors/New Films and the San Francisco and Rio de Janiero International Film Festivals. The Toe Tactic was developed at the Sundance Institute’s 2002 Screenwriters’ and 2003 Filmmakers’ Labs. She was in the first class (2004) of Annenberg Film Fellows named by the Sundance Institute.
In 2009, Ms. Hubley toured with the film to museums, art houses and universities, often with programs of her shorts and/or those by her parents, Faith and John Hubley.
Ms. Hubley has been making animated shorts for thirty years. Her hand-drawn films explore personal memory and the turbulence of emotional life. Her narration delivers concrete stories while visual elements question and embellish the meaning of specific ideas… read more
Incredibly clunky in comparison to Emily Hubley's short films, which are sublimely lyrical, seemingly effortlessly so. It's hard to say whether the writing or Lily Rabe's performance makes the film a wasted opportunity, but it still works on certain levels--Yo La Tengo is used well, of course; David Cross, Daniel London and Novella Nelson all give excellent supporting performances; the animation is quite good too.