Katie Holmes was photographed backstage at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday serving Breyer’s ice cream in a blue wrap dress for reasons unknown. Seriously. Take a look at these photos and explain to me how they make any sense. This is a night that celebrates the best in indie film, and a marquee star, who currently has an independent film of her own, Touched with Fire, in theatres is being relegated to serving attendees ice cream backstage. Ice cream!
Put that image in your head: Katie Holmes serving grocery store desserts to Brie Larson before she’s ushered into a horde of post-awards show press. It’s absurd. And embarrassing. She wasn’t even a presenter at the show! Jessica Biel was a presenter at the Indie Spirits, but Katie was not. Doesn’t Jessica seem like a better fit to serve ice cream to the indie A-list and Rachel McAdams? She’s opening a dessert-themed restaurant called Au Fudge!
Yes, Katie’s obviously posing in these photos and is likely getting paid for this random endorsement, but it feels really downmarket? As of last May, Katie Holmes was getting invited to the MET Gala, where she was wearing Zac Posen. Barely a year later? She’s hustling for Breyer’s on the most high-profile weekend of the year for film even though she was worthy of attending as a presenter at least, as her new indie Touched with Fire is fine, albeit forgettable entertainment.
Actually, by the time Touched with Fire leaves theatres, it will likely be among Katie’s worst box office showings of her career, even though it features one of her strongest performances in recent memory. It’s no Mad Money, and it’s certainly not Miss Meadows. This tiny movie was once known as Mania Days and is best remembered for a series of sultry paparazzi photos that showed Katie and her Canadian co-star Luke Kirby kissing anywhere and everywhere on-set, including in a New York fountain. Those photos, though, were from the summer of 2013. The movie is promising enough to make them worth the wait.
In the film, Katie plays Carla, a poet in a creative rut who is drowning in self-doubt. She’s a published author, but is also manic-depressive and is struggling to both write her next work and reconnect with who she was before her last (unseen) episode. With mousey brown hair and the requisite “I give up” sweater, Carla tries to reach out to her mother (Christine Lahti) for answers about her identity before she, in her mind, broke bad and “got sick.” Desperate to understand her illness, she checks in to a mental hospital for “one night” only to find the powers that be will not let her leave until after she completes some treatment.
It’s here where, naturally, she meets Marco (Luke Kirby). He’s bipolar and on a manic high. Marco recently quit his job and had been running around New York telling anybody he saw that his name was Luna, and that an apocalypse was coming. While Carla is reluctant to participate in any of the group therapy, the two bond quickly after he sees through her hospital alias (an ode to fellow poet, Emily Dickinson).
Following their meet-cute, Carla calls out Marco for attributing mental illness to others, saying “you think every great artist is bipolar.”
“Fine, if it helps you.”
Their connection swiftly becomes romantic, and Marco teaches Carla to embrace the mania instead of shaming it. As the two adjust to life outside the hospital, they begin to start a life together and regain a sense of routine, with or without an episode.
Touched with Fire is partly inspired by writer-director Paul Dalio’s own experiences with mental illness, and his sensitivity creates a compelling movie where these behaviours are shown to have ramifications without being presented as a freak show.
Katie commits to Carla’s arc, but by the time her character makes a big decision, you feel worn out and detached from its ramifications. Touched with Fire is emotionally exhausting, and its impact is marred by its overreliance on uninspired sun and moon imagery.
Still, Katie really does give it the college try. And the critics agree: as of this writing, Touched with Fire has a 68 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Plus, if anything, this movie combined with Take this Waltz proves that Luke Kirby might be Canada’s next high profile export.
If indie roles are where her heart is, this movie puts Katie one step closer to reviving the Pieces of April and Go actress we used to know and will likely see again when her directorial effort All We Had hits the festival circuit later this year. Will she still be serving ice cream though?