Sparkling Comedy from Canada
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 08/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on a novel by Barbara Gowdy, Esta Spalding's film version of "Falling Angels" is a spectacular domestic comedy/drama with well-drawn characters and sparkling performances.
Callum Keith Rennie won Canada's Best Supporting Actor Oscar, the Genie, in 1998 for "Last Night." He also played the gay love interest in "Wilby Wonderful" for a guy who kept trying to commit suicide as well as appearing in "The Butterfly Effect." As the father Jim Field, Rennie is full of machismo and is lost in his own world in a household with a wife & three daughters.
Miranda Richardson, twice nominated for Oscars for "Damage" in 1992 & "Tom & Viv" in 1994 plays mother Mary, a depressive alcoholic whose illness is sheltered by her family.
Of the three daughters, Norma, played by Monte Gagne in her first film, is a tomboy who pine panels the basement and receives a toolbelt from her father for Christmas and wears it with pride. When she seems to develop a stronger-than-normal girl-on-girl attraction for the neighbor Stella played by Ingrid Nilson, the audience is not surprised. She uncovers the secret of a brother whose infant death has darkened the marriage of her parents.
However, for all of these fine performances, the film really belongs to the middle daughter Lon played by Katharine Isabelle. Isabelle has appeared in "Freddie vs. Jason" & "Josie & the Pussycats." In this film she shines as the rebellious daughter who is tired of her father's affairs, stomps on his toe and screams at him in anger. She runs her bicycle into the van of hippie classmate Tom, played by Kett Turton from "Firewall," "Gypsy 83" & "Walking Tall." Tom has long talks about Nitzche while Lon keeps turning the subject back to sex. Lon finds sanctuary in the family bomb shelter in the back yard.
The youngest sister is Sandy played by Kristin Adams who was in "Where the Truth Lies" with Kevin Bacon & Colin Firth. She is obsessed with feminine beauty, sewing stylish clothes and makeup applied with perfection. She attracts a 38-year old married shoe salesman Tom, played by Mark McKinney who won his Best Supporting Actor Genie for "Dog Park." Young as she is, Sandy believes it to be true love until Tom unveils his New Year's surprise. Pregnant, Sandy expects a ring & a proposal but winds up with a twin brother in a local motel and an offer for in-family group sex.
The film begins quickly and then moves into flashback until the final frames. Rennie's hilarious reaction to his wife drunk on the roof is to point a shotgun at her in classic black comedy mode. Director Esta Spalding handles the pacing well and does an excellent job with this sparkling comedy from Canada. Bravo!
Film of the decade on family tragedy.
S. Pasela | New York, NY United States | 03/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is fabulous. Perhpas the perverse Darwin payout of growing up with a parent having a mental health crisis is the unique resilence it developes. The sisters experience is stunning and heroic. The portrayal of the whole family is done so very well. There is so much to identify with -- I could see myself in each sister. It is a perfect portrayal of isolation that leads to preventable tradegy. Everyone in mental health should see this film! It is so on target and yet not overly devastating. Bravo!"