Review: ‘Saint Monica’

Requiring an even greater leap of faith from auds than that possessed by its religious pint-sized protag, writer-director Terrance Odette's "Saint Monica" is enough for a short story or film, but expansion of this slim tale to feature length exposes dramaturgical and cinematic problems.

Requiring an even greater leap of faith from auds than that possessed by its religious pint-sized protag, writer-director Terrance Odette’s “Saint Monica” is enough for a short story or film, but expansion of this slim tale to feature length exposes dramaturgical and cinematic problems. While story hinges on a young girl’s desire to play an angel in her beloved church’s annual procession celebrating the Virgin Mary, it adds distracting complications involving the girl’s glum Portuguese-Canadian family, plus a turn with a disturbed homeless woman that just won’t float. Pic is an example of why some Canuck films don’t score well at national B.O.

Though her Toronto family’s moved far away from her church, Monica (an unengaging Genevieve Buechner) insists on going there no matter what it takes. But when she can’t get into the processional, she steals a pair of wings that are part of rite’s costume, only to see them snatched away by a kooky old gal (Claire Coulter) who habitually jaywalks on roadway bridges. Final act with Monica and the woman is a true howler.

Saint Monica

Canada

Production

A Seville Pictures release (in Canada) of a Rave film & Sienna Films production. (International sales: Seville Pictures, Montreal.) Produced by Sharon McGowan, Peggy Thompson, Jennifer Kawaja, Julia Sereny. Directed, written by Terrance Odette.

Crew

Camera (Alpha Cine color), Arthur E. Cooper; editor, Lenka Svab; music, Carlos Lopes; production designer, James Phillips; costume designer, Sharmon Luchuk. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Perspective Canada), Sept. 6, 2002. English, Portuguese dialogue. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Genevieve Buechner, Clare Coulter, Maurizio Terrazano, Krista Bridges, Brigitte Bako.
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