Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies,“The Accountant,” starring Ben Affleck as a deadly bookkeeper, “American Honey” starring Sasha Lane, “Unless” with Catherine Keener and “Christine” with Rebecca Hall!
“Unless,” a new film staring Catherine Keener, is a portrait of a family in distress.
Successful author—a “book club darling”—and translator Reta Winters (Keener), her physician partner Tom (Matt Craven) and children are rocked out of their suburban complacency when daughter Norah (Hannah Gross) drops out of society to become a panhandler on the streets of Toronto.
Wrapped in a thick wool blanket, holding a sign that reads “Goodness,” Norah sits, catatonically outside of legendary discount department store Honest Ed’s. Detached and despondent, the young woman sits, quiet as the falling snow that swirls around her as her family struggles to understand why and how she ended up on the street. Is it a breakdown? A protest? A personal revolution? A reckoning of some sort?
Based on Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Shields’s final novel, she passed away in 2003, “Unless” isn’t driven by plot but by Norah’s unhappiness and her family’s reaction to it. Some flowery dialogue occasionally gets in the way—“Sometimes I think that for Norah there’s a bounteous feast going on but she has not been invited.”—but Keener’s keen intelligence and concern provides the emotional core that shapes the thin story into a compelling character study. In the novel Reta’s journey was an internal one and Keener makes it external and as cinematic as possible given the subdued nature of the film.
Although the question of why and how this happened lies at the heart of the film, director Alan Gilsenan is more interested in the effects of Norah’s decision than the decision itself. There is a conclusion, a reason, but the destination in this case is less satisfying than the journey. The trauma that triggered Norah’s inward turn is unsettling, both emotionally and visually as presented in the movie, but doesn’t provide the kind of capper a story like this needs to transcend character. It feels slightly out of balance in its final minutes as it switches focus from Reta to Norah because we realize that this isn’t the story of a woman’s decision to drop out, but the story of a family’s reckoning with the aftermath of that choice.
Stratford Festival’s Antony and Cleopatra starring Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh premières May 21 in cinemas throughout Canada, U.S.
The steamy story of a midlife affair that shook the foundations of the ancient world comes to vivid life in the Stratford Festival production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, starring Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh as the powerful rulers whose insatiable love leads to the greatest of tragedies. Director Gary Griffin paints an unforgettable landscape depicting the devastation wrought by the heart’s transgressions.
Filmed in spectacular HD under the direction of Barry Avrich, Antony and Cleopatra premières in cinemas throughout Canada and the U.S. on May 21. The Canadian encore screening is on June 7. U.S. encore dates vary. For more information visit www.stratfordfestival.ca/HD.
“Yanna McIntosh makes Cleopatra the consummate sexual manipulator,
proud of her talents, furious when they fail her.”
Robert Cushman, National Post
“Geraint Wyn Davies offers us an Antony of boundless charm and eternal optimism.”
Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star
“Antony and Cleopatra reminds us that sexuality is all too often wasted on the young.
Its hero and heroine are old enough to know better. Nonetheless, they crash and burn
in a sea of intense, obsessive, sexual desire — before our very eyes.”
Robert Reid, The Record
“Antony and Cleopatra has two of Shakespeare’s most soaring characters,
and the kind of final love-death sequence that great art thrives on.”
Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star
Antony and Cleopatra is produced by Melbar Entertainment Group in association with the Stratford Festival, Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, and Executive Producers Barry Avrich, Anita Gaffney and Michael A. Levine.
This production is part of a massive initiative by the Stratford Festival, North America’s leading classical theatre company, to capture all of Shakespeare’s plays over the next 10 years. The series, which began with the Stratford Festival’s critically acclaimed production of King Learin February, followed by King John in April and now Antony and Cleopatra,will ultimately create the first North American collection of the complete works of William Shakespeare.