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Awesome: 33.33%
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1 review, 6 user ratings

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Simple Curve, A
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by Jason Whyte

"A likeable and curious British Columbian Movie."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 VANCOUVER FILM FESTIVAL. The aspects of Canadian filmmaking have been dissected in essays, documentaries and news articles all over the country as to how and why the Canadian film is the way it is. Personally, I have always found that the stories that Canadian filmmakers put out are cheap because that’s exactly how much budget the filmmakers want to put into it, and the fact that no one outside a few film festivals and the filmmakers’ friends would even pay a ticket to see it. So think small, shoot small and tell your friends it’s a Kubrickian masterpiece.

But you see, that’s what I don’t get. I subscribe to the “Aim Higher” philosophy of filmmaking, both in independent and large scale and not what the majority of recent indie Canada flicks do, which is “Aim Just Good Enough”. The Canadian system mostly consists of these kinds of movies that appeal to so few people in our own country, and most of the time the films never make it down to America, where (sadly) the real money lies.

I make mention of all of this because Aubrey Nealon’s new film “A Simple Curve”, a drama set in BC’s Slocan Valley, ventures a bit away from the typicality of this kind of Canadian dead-brain. Sure, there are a few moments where things aren’t totally polished, but its sharp writing and performances make up for it all very well.

Caleb (Kris Lemche) lives a pretty ordinary existence in the valley of the Slocan, whose parents including father Jim (Michael Hogan) have a rather significant past; they got around the Vietnam draft by escaping to Canada after having Caleb. Their relationship has taken a toll since Caleb’s mother has died, which certainly doesn’t help considering the two of them both work in the same carpentry business. Jim’s drastic changes in the business are making financial woes even worse for the both of them.

Enter Matthew (Matt Craven) who has had a past with Jim the father and was also a draft-dodger back in the day. Caleb sees help in Matthew who may be able to help save the family business. At the same time, Caleb also develops a relationship with a local girl (Pascale Hutton) who is also a single mother.

There is a moment I really liked in “A Simple Curve” where Caleb is taking the single mother on a date, and is somehow able to break the ice by revealing to his date that he has slept with the waitress…oh, and how can I forget, also the girl sitting across the way. And possibly even that girlfriend’s friend at that same table.

It’s moments like this that set apart the film from being just another slice of Canadiana; Nealon, a Slocan Valley native (who I have met on a few occasions and even shared a car ride with between a party at the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival; ironically he remembered me faster than I did him!), really gets the lives that these characters live and gives them a bit of room to make their own interesting aspects. He also makes splendid use of the cinematography, giving the Valley a look that most of us from British Columbia really do see on a frequent basis.

Mention also must be made for lead Kris Lemche, who is so good here as the conflicted Caleb that it makes the movie stand far above the typical aspect of movies made up here that are all smoke and mirrors. He is helped by Matt Craven and Michael Hogan who are also terrific as characters who come into conflict with Caleb. Pascale Hutton just hits the right note as the single mother who likes Caleb.

So there you go; I liked “A Simple Curve” even though its existence is within a realm of Canadian cinema that really gives the country a questionable identity. There are moments of roughness with some of the dialogue and editing in the film, but Mr. Nealon can’t really be blamed. If he’s this good on his first try, I’m sure his future projects will be even better.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12811&reviewer=350
originally posted: 10/10/05 14:08:34
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2005 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/14/06 Ancaster Film Fest Brilliant script, superb acting, marvelous cinematrography. Will encourage discussion. 5 stars
4/30/06 Kim Rozwadowski Great Canadian film. 5 stars
12/14/05 Marie Scenery can't be the star 3 stars
10/04/05 David Jeffrey great movie, fantastic location shots, great cinematography 5 stars
9/19/05 Don White Interesting flick - great scenery. 4 stars
9/02/05 Phil Smythe Totally captures a sense of place and brings the viewer into Caleb's journey and choices. 5 stars
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Directed by
  Aubrey Nealon

Written by
  Aubrey Nealon

  Kris Lemche
  Michael Hogan
  Matt Craven
  Pascale Hutton
  Sarah Lind
  Kett Turton

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