Contemporary World Cinema
Bruce Sweeney’s Vancouver-set dramedy Kingsway features two great talents in Gabrielle Rose as Marian and Camille Sullivan as Marian’s daughter, Jessica. Rose has such effortless chemistry with anyone she has a scene with but the sparks really start to fly when she’s paired with Sullivan.
It’s unfortunate that the film doesn’t ultimately want to focus on those characters’ stories. Matt, Marian’s son and Jessica’s brother, and his wife Lori are the characters the movie is hoping you’ll invest in. It’s Matt’s suspicion that Lori is cheating on him that forces all other characters into action in Kingsway. Matt, a semiotics professor, senses a distance between him and Lori, an aspiring singer. He follows her to a motel and decides to tell his mother and sister. There’s a movie that could have focused only on Matt’s hijinks as he tried to prove his wife is cheating on him, However, almost every other character is more likeable and engaging than Matt and Lori.
This may be because of the almost episodic flow of Kingsway. Even though the story is about how Matt and Lori deal with marital problems, Marian and Jessica are given very interesting side stories about their love lives and it feels jarring when the movie wants to shift focus back to Matt’s issues with Lori. It feels as though there is a lack of care put into Matt and Lori’s story when compared to the potential evident in Marian and Jessica’s stories. As a result, some of the heavier emotional beats for Matt and Lori fail to land or feel unearned.
Though the movie feels unfocused, the performances by Gabrielle Rose and Camille Sullivan still make Kingsway an entertaining watch.