This movie follows a predictable arc, if you’re familiar with its type: the main character is struggling with their life, a mysterious stranger comes in and entrances said character (or “insert other plot device here”) , and then life lessons. (Sorry for the mild spoiler.) I point this out so early in the review because, well, I’ve seen a lot of these movies. And they’re a bit tired at this point. This one manages to have some neat spins on the formula but succumbs to it in the end.
One of the pet peeves I have about TIFF is when a TIFF employee introducing the film or, occasionally, the director spoils something about the film in the intro. This director told us what her movie is about. And unfortunately that coloured our experience of the film because the film didn’t appear to be really about that, exactly.
So the main character is clearly having a mental health crisis. And that part is handled quite well. And this not particularly attractive ex-con comes in and swoops her off her feet, making her behaviour worse and treating her like shit. I’m not sure I’ve seen the combination of this type of film with this type of boyfriend before, but I may have. Anyway, it unfolds mostly how you would expect it to. What I can say is both leads are extremely believable in their roles and that is one thing which elevates this movie over some others of its type.
I’m particularly impressed by the sense of how out of touch with time Kate is. That part is done extremely well without resorting to some of the usual tricks. (There are a few camera tricks but they are used pretty judiciously.) And there’s a real sense of place even though Kate is so out of touch with the day of the week. This part is really well done.
But what isn’t well done is the resolution. Kate eventually realizes she doesn’t need him and learns some minor things about herself. But, for the movie, this appears to resolve her deep-seeded mental health problems, at least as far as the audience is concerned. And that just feels way too easy. (As well as very, very typical of this type of film, a bit of a cliche really.) Off she goes into the sun, with no job and no money and we’re supposed to believe that her new self-reliance (only in relation to this man) is enough to solve her problems? It doesn’t feel real.
But the performances were good, and I really liked how I had no idea what day of the week it was, just like Kate didn’t.