When we first meet Ronnie (Grace Glowicki) she’s a drunk rebounding from the death of her brother Garrett. Constantly on the tipple, she almost winds up in the hospital after a lawn mowing accident. Concerned and looking for help for her out of control daughter, mother Dina (Nancy Kerr) calls Faye (Erin Carter), Ronnie’s former best buttoned-down friend and Garrett’s ex-girlfriend. Faye responded differently to Garrett’s death. Although they broke up a year before his passing, she is troubled that she didn’t pick up a phone call from her ex just days before his death. Cue intimacy issues.
When an intervention of sorts fails Faye kidnaps Ronnie—ie: puts her passed out body in the front seat of Garrett’s Mustang convertible—and heads for Garrett’s family cottage in Invermere, British Columbia. What was planned as a time of introspection and sobriety becomes something else as the women’s differences take center stage. Each processes their grief in a different way as they try and find some common ground other than their relationships with Garrett. The longer they spend in the country the more insight into each other and into the nature of their time with Garrett, for better and for worse.
“Suck it Up” is anchored by two great performances from Glowicki and Carter. As Ronnie and Faye they are polar opposites bound by a single factor, Garrett. Thrown together, they are an odd couple, damaged and not so sure of their resilience. As surprising revelations about Garrett (who we never see) emerge the leads shift and change in believable ways. At the risk of making this bouncy little film seem heavier than it actually is, I’ll say that it understands and conveys how grief and perspective are two entirely different things and does so with heartfelt humour. It’s a not exactly a startlingly new observation, but it is earnest and well portrayed.
I could have done without the climatic and cathartic mud fight scene but the movie sparkles in enough ways to make up for one grubby misstep.