Another great debut Canadian feature in a year full of great debuts, this almost painfully realistic coming of age tale deals with body issues, awkward burgeoning sexuality, and how the young and old interact with splendid results.
Making the leap to features from shorts, filmmaker Lindsay MacKay gorgeously photographs this low key story of a 14 year old girl named Sam. Physically underdeveloped and picked on by the other girls in her locker room, she wears her swimsuit like a security blanket at all times and seems uninterested in impressing anyone with her appearance. She’s played by TIFF Rising Star Julia Sarah Stone with a great amount of realism. She isn’t sarcastic and witty like normal movie teenagers, she’s just frustrated.
Her mom forces her to work cleaning rooms at an old folks home, where she mostly interacts with a constantly pissed off old man (a great Kenneth Walsh) and an almost catatonic woman (Diana Leblanc) who stares out her window all day. She also has a bit of a crush on the considerably older and kinda sleazy leader of her lifeguard training class (Craig Arnold).
Not only does the film look great, but it’s the rare example of a film where every character is gloriously three dimensional, even Sam’s young woman of few words. It’s fascinating figuring out where these characters are going to end up, and who will turn out to be helpful and who will turn out to be harmful. Often that can change within the same scene. That’s the sign of some darn good writing, and kudos to MacKay’s cast for keeping pace. (Andrew Parker)
Screens (with short film Red Alert):
Sunday, September 7th, 3:45pm, Isabel Bader Theatre
Wednesday, September 10th, 2:15pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema