Strong film about semi-homeless folks in Toronto. The film holds a compassionate mirror to its subjects without at the same time glorifying them. There are only three main characters and the film gives all three ample room to tell their stories. We see lives in motion, people moving forward and slipping back, all against the backdrop of an intermittently successful social net. Rated 8/10.
THE STAIRS is essentially a documentary about a disparate assortment of individuals struggling w/ addiction, chronic homelessness, years in the sex trade, or combinations of these, who might be said to be emblematic of the harm reduction approach to managing such struggles. What distinguishes the film is the personalities. Indeed, extraordinary people on the margins often star in extraordinary unrevealed stories.
Solid documentary. I don't need to be convinced that addiction and sex work are merely parts of human existence, but I still learned a lot. This model where you get crack money to consider your options in life seems fascinating and I would love to learn more about it (I'm from Russia & the US, where I don't think it's practiced). Fell in love with the three main characters. I hope they stay strong and have luck.
Bog standard documentary. You could watch this and maybe realize some things or feel their stories but more than likely it'll blend in with every other "drug addicts tell stories that are not as unique as the filmmaker believes." Go downtown and talk to your local homeless friend. You'll actually get to engage and have a discussion with them like they're, you know, a human being.
Although The Stairs is nothing enlightening to anyone who accepts that users and recovering addicts are worthy of respect, each telling of these stories provides personality and counterbalance to their depiction in media. We see the bubble here contained to people who share these experiences, contrasted with all the social systems that don't value a harm reduction approach and hence make their struggle harder 3.5
Incredibly refreshing how the filmmaker’s gaze feels very open and non-judgmental. It is also a testament to Hugh Gibson that these people who are in the difficult process of healing are so comfortable with him and the camera. Nothing felt forced from all sides.
Technically well done, worth a watch for material. Not really managing to make a film out of it. Maybe because some of the actors are hard to find to actually shoot the story at the center of the plot.