Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Canada, 2000. Alliance Atlantis Communications, Buffalo Gal Pictures, Odeon Films, Pluck. Screenplay by John Greyson, based on the novel by Dale Peck. Cinematography by Kim Derko. Produced by Damon D’Oliveira, John Greyson, Phyllis Laing. Music by Don Pyle, Andrew Zealley. Production Design by Rejean Labrie. Costume Design by Charlotte Penner. Film Editing by Mike Munn. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
This adaptation of Dale Peck’s similarly titled novel starts off languid and slow, poetic and lovely. Two hours later, it’s still languid, slow, poetic and lovely, but by that point it has also gotten frustrating, boring and flat. Sarah Polley and Brendan Fletcher star as two misfits in Sarnia, Ontario who meet during the Gulf War crisis, fall in love and, after his surviving a dangerous operation for a brain tumour, get married. Forty years later, they’re still together (played by Sean McCann and Diane Ladd), examining what went wrong in their relationship and how they’ve gotten to the point where they completely hate each other. The curiousity to this story is that the entire time that they have been together, time hasn’t moved one bit: throughout their entire relationship the clock has been frozen in time, and they are still stuck in the same fashions and furnitures, with the war still looming overhead. John Greyson has moved in to a much more mature filmmaking sphere than he worked with on such previous ventures as Zero Patience and Uncut, but he wants so badly for his film to be The Sweet Here-‘N’-Now that his earnestness kills any potential. Polley starts off interesting, but she soon veers into her uncomfortable habit of confusing a monotoned voice with dramatic intensity, and Fletcher is just plain awkward. The only saving grace comes from Ladd’s brilliant portrayal of a woman who can’t understand how her life went so wrong after such a great start; the drawback is that you’re never convinced that Polley would ever grow up to become her. Peck adapted the screenplay himself, and it is continually obvious that you are watching a book being played out, and probably a much better book than the movie turned out to be.