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SUGAR DADDY: 3 ½ STARS. “a carefully constructed character study.”

Raw talent and artistic ambition drive Darren, played by “Letterkenny’s” Kelly McCormack, to take extreme measures to make ends meet in “Sugar Daddy,” a new drama now on VOD.

Like many young, struggling artists Darren has a roommate and several part time jobs but still has trouble paying her bills. When she gets fired from a catering gig, she turns to a website that sets up paid dinner companions with older men who want company but not commitment.

Her friends think the job is turning her into a commodity, but she stays with it, spending time with Gordon, a wealthy business man played by Colm Feore, who appears to share her love of music.

As her life spirals, she connects with a lost sense of self-esteem and creates experimental music that bares her reshaped soul.

“Sugar Daddy” is a coming-of-age story about an artist finding her way.

Darren is a prickly character, indecisive, often rudderless but she’s utterly compelling. Director Wendy Morgan uses a boxy 4:3 aspect ratio to ensure we can’t ignore her, but it is McCormack, who also wrote the script, that captures the character’s brilliance, capriciousness and self-centeredness. It is a multi-layered performance that edges into stereotypical tormented artist territory before finding grace notes in the Darren’s lessons of empowerment.

“Sugar Daddy’s” ideas on patriarchal structures in the arts and the people who create aren’t as experimental as Darren’s music and videos but they lay a solid foundation on which Morgan and McCormack to build a carefully constructed character study.

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