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Turning Paige

Good ensemble work and nice, wintry pictures are the only reasons to see "Turning Paige," a dysfunctional family drama with no new spins. Adequate cable fare is apt to be filler on Lifetime or other outlets.

With:
With: Katharine Isabelle, Nicholas Campbell, Philip DeWilde, Brendan Fletcher, Torri Higginson, Nikki Barnett, Johnny Diamond, Chris Kelly.

Good ensemble work and nice, wintry pictures are the only reasons to see “Turning Paige,” a dysfunctional family drama with no new spins. Adequate cable fare is apt to be filler on Lifetime or other outlets.

As titular Paige, up-and-comer Katherine Isabelle (of “Ginger Snaps”) is impressive in an overly familiar role — that of motherless teen turning to her journal for emotional solace and creative expression. Device leads to some poorly enacted fantasy scenes and some other literary over-reaching, but helmer Robert Cuffley’s story mostly hinges on Paige’s strained relations with her alcoholic father. Latter is played perfectly by Canuck tube icon Nick Campbell, and it should be: This is his third working-class-dad-to-a-troubled-female-teen role in a row. (The first two were opposite Liane Balaban.) Paige’s biggest struggle is with her brutish older brother, although both Philip DeWilde and his character make an indistinct impression on events. Paige’s snotty attitude toward her diffident writing teacher (Torri Higginson) remains even more enigmatic. On plus side, lenser Mark Dobrescu makes great use of rarely seen New Brunswick locations, mostly seen under a blanket of hard snow.

Turning Paige

Canada

Production: A CHAOS (Alberta)/At Shepherd Park Prods. (New Brunswick) production, with support from Telefilm Canada, Canadian Television Fund, CBC. (International sales: CHAOS a Film Co., Calgary.) Produced by Carolyn McMaster. Executive producer, McMaster, Colin Neale. Directed by Robert Cuffley. Screenplay, Cuffley, Jason Long.

Crew: Camera (color), Mark Dobrescu; editor, Ken Berry; music, Michael Shields; production designer, Paryse Normadeau; costume designer, Chris O'Neill. Reviewed on videocassette, Vancouver, Sept. 30, 2001. (In Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary Film Festivals.)Running time: 112 MIN.

With: With: Katharine Isabelle, Nicholas Campbell, Philip DeWilde, Brendan Fletcher, Torri Higginson, Nikki Barnett, Johnny Diamond, Chris Kelly.

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