×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Weirdos’

Two teenagers road-trip across Nova Scotia in the summer of '76.

With:
Dylan Authors, Julia Sarah Stone, Molly Parker, Dave Hawco, Cathy Jones, Rhys Bevan-John, Vi Tang, Alex Purdy, Aria Publicover, Max Humphreys, Dominique LeBlanc, Deivan Steele, Matthew Lumley, Vi Tang.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5058014/

Two veteran Canadian filmmakers meet in the middle with “Weirdos,” which finds a useful balance between director Bruce McDonald’s ’80s indie-hipster sensibility and scenarist Daniel MacIvor’s penchant for warmer, fuzzier dramedy. Their slender but pleasing black-and-white narrative finds two adolescents road-tripping toward bittersweet self-discovery across rural Nova Scotia. This modest Me Decade flashback should do well on the fest circuit, with decent prospects for mostly home-format niche sales.

Besties Kit (Dylan Authors) and Alice (Julia Sarah Stone) are plotting something — each has fibbed by telling their oblivious parents they’re spending the night at the other’s house. What the 15-year-olds are actually up to is hitching from their small inland town to not-much-larger Sydney on Cape Breton Island, where Kit plans to move in with the rarely heard-from mother his father Dave (Allan Hawco) divorced some years back. It’s not that his home-life status quo (or Alice’s) is bad, exactly; it’s just that he wants a change, and she wants an adventure.

They promptly catch a ride with a carload of teen acquaintances who offer to take them all the way to their destination. But Alice decides on an abrupt change of plan when the sexually ambiguous Kit — who’s been notably the more skittish of the two friends when it comes to the prospect of losing their mutual virginities — gets too friendly with a more overtly gay-acting kid (Max Humphreys). A couple lifts later, they score again with a cop (Matthew Lumley) who makes a judgement error significant enough for the teens to be able to guilt him into buying their silence by driving them to Sydney.

After Kit and Alice are reunited with their friends at a night-long beach party — which causes Alice another gay-panic spasm — the two repair to chez Laurie (Molly Parker). Almost childishly thrilled by their arrival, Kit’s mom at first appears simply to be a harmlessly bohemian “free spirit” stereotype whom we discover interpretive-dancing in her backyard. But the boy’s hopes that he can take several leaps forward with his own artistic aspirations by relocating here are soon chilled by signs of serious mental instability that mom can scarcely hide for long.

The script doesn’t spell out Laurie’s condition, detail her past, or even her present circumstances (though we do make the rather jarring acquaintance of her current landlord/lover, a refugee from Khymer Rouge terror played by Vi Tang). Nonetheless, the always interesting Parker (who starred in McDonald and MacIvor’s prior collaboration, 2010’s “Trigger”) makes Laurie a fully realized figure of poignant, alarming dysfunctionality. Meanwhile, a nosy grade-school neighbor back home tips Dave to the missing teens’ likely whereabouts. And in the film’s one magical-realist element, Kit enjoys imaginary conversations with celebrity idol Andy Warhol (Rhys Bevan-John), who’s appointed himself the boy’s “spirit animal.”

More a short story than a novel in terms of cumulative heft, “Weirdos” nonetheless benefits from the literary virtues of revealing character through a seemingly casual, anecdotal narrative. The performances are nicely in tune with the general tenor of wry, lower-case observation. Becky Parsons’ handsome monochrome lensing hands a starring role to the picturesque East Coast scenery. In this largely off-grid setting (at least it seems so to the protagonists, who dream of the Big Apple), the kitschier aspects of[ ’70s culture aren’t so conspicuous, though as it’s July 4 weekend in 1976, they do surface in background media coverage of the Bicentennial madness going on down south of the border. There’s also considerable use of flavorful golden oldies on the soundtrack, with an emphasis on Canadian acts like Nick Gilder, Gordon Lightfoot, and Anne Murray.

Film Review: 'Weirdos'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentations), Sept. 9, 2016. Running time: 84 MIN.

Production: (Canada) A Lithium Studios Prods., Shadow Shows and Holdfast Pictures production. Producers: Marc Almon, Mike MacMillan, Bruce McDonald. Executive producer: Marc Savoie. Co-producer: Marc Tetreault.

Crew: Director: Bruce McDonald. Screenplay: Daniel MacIvor. Camera (B&W, widescreen, HD): Becky Parsons. Editor: Duff Smith.

With: Dylan Authors, Julia Sarah Stone, Molly Parker, Dave Hawco, Cathy Jones, Rhys Bevan-John, Vi Tang, Alex Purdy, Aria Publicover, Max Humphreys, Dominique LeBlanc, Deivan Steele, Matthew Lumley, Vi Tang.

More Film

  • Dee Rees

    Dee Rees Directing 'Kyd's Exquisite Follies' Movie Musical

    “Mudbound” director Dee Rees will direct independent movie musical fantasy “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” from her own script. “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” will be produced by Cassian Elwes, one of the “Mudbound” producers. Santigold is set to compose the music, with Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic creating the film’s visual effects. Endeavor Content is repping the [...]

  • The Paradise

    Shanghai Film Review: 'The Paradise'

    Although gritty dramas about the hell of drug addiction are seldom in short supply in the low-budget independent sphere, it’s hard to imagine even the most uncompromising U.S. film committing quite as tenaciously to the idea of the bleak futility and probable failure of rehabilitation as Shih Han Liao’s compelling downer “The Paradise” (title ironic). [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    MGM to Adapt Rodney Dangerfield Comedy 'Back to School' as Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rodney Dangerfield may finally be getting some respect in the halls of higher education. MGM Television is developing a docu-series inspired by the 1986 Dangerfield film “Back to School,” in which the comedian’s character, millionaire Thorton Melon, enrolls in college with his son to keep him from dropping out. In typical Dangerfield fashion, he triggers [...]

  • Michelle Rejwan Lucasfilm

    Lucasfilm Hires 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Producer Michelle Rejwan

    Lucasfilm has hired “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” producer Michelle Rejwan as senior vice president of live action development and production. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy made the announcement Monday. Rejwan was a co-producer on 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a co-producer on JJ Abrams’ “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and an associate producer on [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8 Production

    'Game of Thrones,' Netflix VFX Among Those to Be Featured in SIGGRAPH Production Talks

    VFX pros behind the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the blockbuster film “Avengers: Endgame,” Pixar’s upcoming “Toy Story 4,” last year’s Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Netflix series, including “Stranger Things,” and more will give SIGGRAPH 2019 attendees a behind-the-scenes look at their work during the conference’s Production Sessions. There will even be a [...]

  • Lionsgate Planning 'Hunger Games' Prequel Movie

    Lionsgate Planning 'Hunger Games' Prequel Movie

    Lionsgate has begun working on a “Hunger Games” prequel movie, based on a forthcoming novel from writer Suzanne Collins. “As the proud home of the ‘Hunger Games’ movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published. We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to [...]

  • Siberia Keanu Reeves

    Saban Films Turns 5: How the Indie Studio Grew While Rivals Faltered

    Saban Films doesn’t make the most noise. It doesn’t have the splashiest premieres or parties. But the indie film label just quietly did what many of its early rival failed to pull off. It celebrated its fifth anniversary at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. “We stuck to our plan,” Saban Films founder Bill Bromiley told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content