Like them or loathe them, Nickelback appear to be having a renaissance. One of the most divisive bands of all time, a new documentary about the Canadian alt-rock giants is gaining traction within the festival circuit, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Starring band members Chad Kroeger, Michael Kroeger, Ryan Peake and Daniel Adair, Hate To Love: Nickelback takes fans and detractors alike on a rollercoaster journey through the group’s career. Animosity and adoration towards Nickelback is an unjustifiably volatile subject matter; so much so that Toronto International Film Festival CEO Cameron Bailey was uncertain about whether or not the film should run as part of the 2023 lineup. “We talked about it and thought, ‘Are we still going to be cool and artsy if we invite this film?’,” he told Variety. “Fuck it, hell yes.”
Filmmaker Leigh Brooks directed Hate to Love, an exploration into the career of the multi-platinum band behind mega-hits such as “Rockstar” and “Photograph.” The movie charts Nickelback’s humble origins and progression past the point of mainstream success to arguably rock’s ultimate punching bag. “How can you not like the band?” asked producer and radio DJ Ben Jones of the audience at Roy Thompson Hall. Jones notes that his radio show was the first U.K. outlet to platform Nickelback’s 2001 platinum single “How You Remind Me.”
Clips of Nickelback supporters like Ryan Reynolds, whose superhero alter-ego Deadpool passionately defended everyone’s favorite band-to-hate in a teaser for 2018’s “Deadpool 2,” were responsible for many of the evening’s biggest laughs.
For his part, Cameron Bailey referred to the band’s journey as a “uniquely Canadian underdog story.”
“It’s relatable to everyone,” added Brooks.
The director was joined on stage by Nickelback for a Q&A after the premier, in which he promised the long-suffering rockers would no longer have to answer questions about their meme-status. “This film does it.”
Chad Kroeger, the group’s frontman, chimed in: “Hallelujah!”
Earlier in the week, Nickelback spoke to the LA Times about any advice they would give to a band regarding critical backlash.
“Don’t worry ‘bout it,” drummer Daniel Adair said.
“None of this shit is real,” bassist Mike Kroeger agreed.
“None of it’s real,” guitarist and keyboardist Ryan Peake echoed.