‘Canada Now UK’ Opening Night – Weirdos (Film Review)

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Canada Now UK hosted by Soho Curzon aims to highlight the new and best talent that Canada has to offer. With a heartfelt introduction from the president of Telefilm Canada, the weekend festival kicked off with Bruce McDonald’s 1970s set coming of age road trip drama Weirdos.

Fifteen-year-old Kit decides to ‘run away’ from his Nova Scotia home with his single ‘cool guy’ Father and Grandmother to go live with his artistic mother in Sydney. His girlfriend Alice comes along for the trip in the hopes that she can convince him to stay.

From the outset, there is an underlying feeling that things will go wrong or as the two leads believe they are unlucky. Both Kit and Alice believe in luck rather than fate, so everything that happens is out of their control. They are both naïve as well as delusional. They believe everything will be ok once they reach Sydney.

Despite being boyfriend and girlfriend, the two lack sexual chemistry. Kit is clearly unsure about his own sexuality and Alice is desperate to have ‘goodbye sex’ with Kit thinking this will make him stay, even though she knows Kit is not interested. Kit wears high heeled shoes, typical of the era, kisses a poster of Elton John before his trip and seems more interested looking at magazine articles of the New York art scene. Alice wears jeans, t-shirts, smokes and is more sexually aware than her ‘boyfriend’.

It doesn’t take the duo long before their relationship is challenged in the form of a group of older kids who know Alice’s sister. Kit immediately has a connection with another boy as they pore over a magazine and compliment each other’s clothing. Despite her tomboy look Alice also catches the eye of an older boy who unsubtly tells her he doesn’t have a girlfriend. These respective connections come to a head at the beach where Kit is mortified by Alice’s reactions and actions.

 

The film could been seen as a weekend long reality check for Kit who comes to terms with who he is and the realization about his mother, while also reconnecting with his father. Alice takes a back seat in the second half of the film as the relationship is re-established as ‘best friends’ but serves as his conscience later on.

Kit is followed by his ‘spirit animal’; an Andy Warhol like character who appears as his imaginary conscience, offering words of wisdom is an amusing fashion. He points out at one moment in the film after Kit is worried Alice thinks he’s a weirdo, that she is a weirdo too and in fact we are all weirdos and that’s a good thing. This is the real message that flows throughout the story, once we accept who we are, we can move on, especially as we’re all weirdos with our own quirks and habits.

Dir: Bruce McDonald

Prd: Marc Almon, Mike MacMillian

Scr: Daniel MacIvor

Cast: Dylan Authors, Julia Sarah Stone, Molly Parker, Allan Hawco, Cathy Jones, Rhys Bevan-John

DoP: Becky Parsons

Country: Canada

Running Time: 85 mins

Release: 2016