By: Daniel Chadwick-Shubat
What makes a Canadian film? Is it the awesome portrayal of Canada’s great outdoors exhibited in Sleeping Giant? The wonderful comedy on display in The Grand Seduction? Or is it the honest look at humanity in Away From Her? In my eyes each of those things make Canadian films. Luckily, Weirdos is a film that possesses all three of those traits and offers a different look at teenagers coming of age (which you wouldn’t think would be possible in today’s film world of thousands of coming of age stories). Weirdos is wonderfully weird and a must watch when it comes to Canadian film.
Directed by Bruce McDonald, Weirdos is a black and white film, just one of the things that stands out in this film. The premise is two friends (or more than friends) coming of age on a road trip across Nova Scotia. Our main characters Kit (Dylan Authors) and Alice (Julia Sarah Stone) are the rock that this film is built upon. It starts and ends with them, and without them it’s nothing. Don’t take that as some sort of knock against the script or the directing, but the screenplay (written by Daniel MacIvor) is built around their characters and the relationship they share. It’s not until an hour in that we’re introduced to a character that challenges them.
Alice is by far the most interesting character of the film as she comes to terms with her boyfriend’s hidden sexuality. She’s desperate to consummate their relationship but deep down she realizes that Kit is hiding feelings that are not accepted yet in society (the film is set in the 70’s). This internal battle that Alice goes through is written very subtly and the way we learn about Kit’s homosexuality is quite a haunting moment. It’s shown with such grace while also fitting in well with the times it’s set in. Once we learn about Kit, the dynamic between the two characters completely changes and the film is all the better for it. The two child actors are very impressive here as they pull it off completely naturally without creating too much of a disconnect from their personalities in the first act.
The highlight of the film is by far any scene that Molly Parker is in. She somehow steals the film from these two amazing leads and puts the weird in Weirdos. Playing Kit’s mom, she’s eccentric, classic, melodramatic and plays it to absolute perfection. It’s sad that the Academy doesn’t pay attention to Canadian films because this was a flawless supporting role. Rhys Bevan-John also puts in a comedic performance as Kit’s spirit animal Andy Warhol, who helps Kit deal with his various problems in the film, and to a certain extent helps him come to terms with his sexuality. It’s definitely a great touch.
Weirdos might not be a film for all people of the world but it definitely has a universal message of love and acceptance that can be spread around all corners of the globe. It’s a small movie with a huge heart and a movie that makes me proud to be Canadian.
Check out Weirdos in limited theaters across Canada now. See if it’s playing near you here.
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