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Marion Bridge
Marion Bridge
Actors: Rebecca Jenkins, Hollis McLaren, Nicola Lipman, Molly Parker, Joseph Rutten
Director: Wiebke Von Carolsfeld
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2005

Agnes (Molly Parker), in the midst of a struggle to overcome her own self destructive behavior, returns to Sydney, Nova Scotia from Toronto because of the failing health of her mother Rose (Marguerite McNeil). She is met b...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Rebecca Jenkins, Hollis McLaren, Nicola Lipman, Molly Parker, Joseph Rutten
Director: Wiebke Von Carolsfeld
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: Film Movement
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2005
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Small Story, Well Told
Bart King | Portland, Oregon | 04/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have not read the book that MARION BRIDGE is based on, but the movie's plot is easy enough to summarize. A young woman returns to her hometown in Cape Breton to join her two sisters in caring for their ailing mother.

But while that may be the plot, the story is much deeper and richer. All three of the actresses playing the sisters are quite good at biting off their lines of dialogue with each other in that familiar familial way people have. And while the movie does ultimately have a few cheesy moments, the film's intelligent direction and the presence of the actresses (there are virtually no men in this film) more than make up for it.

By the way, don't be thrown off by the strangely awful jazz music that opens the film. It doesn't fit the tenor of the story (it almost seems like something from a horror film). The film itself has no violence, sex, or even strong language that I noticed.

SIDELIGHT: Our protagonist in this film, Molly Parker, is also a featured actress in the excellent HBO series DEADWOOD."
"I Guess That's Something To Work On"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 07/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"`Marion Bridge' is a somber, independent film from '03 filmed against the backdrop of the rustic landscape of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Similar to the well respected `The Shipping News' from '02 the storyline deals with a dysfunctional family displaying all the neglect, abuse and legacy of heartache that comes with it.

While `Marion Bridge' lacks the big names and more dramatic storyline that accompanies `The Shipping News' the cast is superior nonetheless and the complicated, unresolved familial relationships played out between three sisters, a bedridden alcholic Mother, an estranged, deviant Father and a local teenage girl ring honest and believable.

This is definitely not a film for everyone but worth a viewing, especially if you enjoy dealing with emotional, complicated and unresolved relational issues that arise from living in a not so perfect world."
Home is Not Where the Heart Is.
Wing Lee | Toronto, Ontario | 04/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Marion Bridge is a heavy-duty and emotionally draining experience not just for the viewers, but even more so for the three Cape Breton sisters. Howevever, all that they have endured over the decades or just during their reunion days together, will have a wonderful and meaningful outcome. Do prepare yourself for some tearjerking moments as this film can be kind of heartbreaking, especially the three leads are so impeccable to watch!

Having moved or ran away from home to Toronto more than a decade ago, Agnes(Molly Parker) is called by her older sister Theresa(Rebecca Jenkins) to come home to care for their ailing alcoholic mother(Marguerite McNeil), who had never cared about her daughters. The youngest sister Louise(Stacy Smith) is also reluctant to be involved in any family matters. It's not an easy thing for Agnes to go home and face all the things and people she had left behind, and there is also a secret relationship she share with a teenager girl in the neighborhood. She treats her with gifts and things, and the girl wondered why? The darkest secret that the sisters shared have to come to surface again as it had haunted them for years. They must summon all their courage and unconditional love to go and pay one last visit for the man that had "ruined" their lives.....

Molly Parker is brilliant, and she carries the film, but it was Rebecca Jenkins whose more powerful performance that ultimately stoled most of the scenes. The landscape of Cape Breton also is very appropiate as it provides a sense of gloomy feel for this sad movie."
A beautiful chamber piece
C. Ackerman | 10/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"_Marion bridge_ is a difficult movie to comment on: it is so modest, so delicate, that it feels like any praise will crush it. It's a low budget family drama whose basic plot outline is an utter cliche: a dysfunctional family reassembles under the same roof in the face of death and secrets are revealed, with characters coping to varying degrees as the funeral approaches. Total cliche. The worst you could imagine from an obscure chick flick. Then, on top of that, the characters mumble and whisper a lot and there are no subtitles. And the incredibly sensual Molly Parker not only manages to keep her clothes on, she looks downright haggard. Furthermore, the opening scene is unrelated to the rest of the film, except in a symbolic sense that isn't particularly obvious unless you listen to the commentary track. So this film starts at quite a deficit.

And yet... in its own quiet way, this film is near perfect. The only clumsy moment is a scene in which two characters lie about their names. The acting, which the other people comment on, is realism at its finest. The sisters physically look like sisters and interact with such palpable tension that I'd be afraid to be related to any of the actresses. I've seen the film maybe five times and there's one confusing cut and one place where the clouds in the background change between cuts. Otherwise, everything is how it should be. Even a detail that could be near impossible to control--Molly Parker's pupils contracting to almost nothing when she's looking at a character who has harmed her tremendously--is done right. And despite the hackneyed conceit upon which the screenplay is hung, at every point at which it could have gone the easy route towards the safe and predictable, it chooses something different, something quietly more authentic.

When I read the other reviews, I had the feeling that people emotionally quit watching about ten to fifteen minutes from the end. They describe a well-acted tragedy, a grim, slow-going, tough to sit through affair and make no mention of the ending. At the risk of semi-spoiler, I have to challenge this view. Yes, the characters have had horrific lives, and they often fail to connect to each other and many times don't even seem to want to.

I'll concede all that. But I suspect that the realism evokes such raw feelings that it's easy for your mind to go off on emotional autobiographical tangents and lose the film. Even if the viewer's personal life has been calmer than that of any of the characters, pretty much everyone has probably had to at least once go through a deathwatch, with the bedridden person, the awkwardness, the bottles of pills, the rented hospital bed, the oxygen tank, etc. This movie really has the potential to open the floodgates.

Yet I consider this one of the most feel-good movies ever made. Why? Because it's ending is credible in its tone. Because it doesn't force its ending down your throat like some after-school or Disney special or any movie with too much of a budget and a director who can't resist hitting you over the head with telling you how you should feel. Instead, starting with a morose, seemingly untalented, character giving a beautiful rendition of `Amazing grace', the film glides towards a bittersweet ending. Then in the closing seconds, the camera simply pans right and the meaning of everything changes. Then the camera pans again, this time towards the sky-- and credits. It takes a moment to appreciate minor victory the characters have won against themselves, against their own pasts. But then you're left with a delicately triumphant mood lingers for the rest of the day.

I would also recommend the commentary track with the director and Molly Parker. Not only does it demonstrate how so much of what the film does right was done quite intentionally and with great care, it points out a lot of local color that you might not see otherwise. (Indeed, it points out how there's a moment of confusion because one of the character's doesn't get the local color.)

If you're not familiar with the Cape Breton area of Canada (which I'm not), I would suggest using Google maps or a similar program to see where Marion Bridge and Sydney, Nova Scotia are. Geography is important but it's never explained.
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