Grown Up Movie Star Adriana Maggs

Grown Up Movie Star Adriana Maggs
Judging from the status quo of Canadian cinema, wherein damaged characters sleep with siblings, parents, the deceased and more recently, CPUs, rarely finding any sort of catharsis, feeling trapped in their environments, we have both an inferiority and superiority complex in relation to our neighbours to the south. We show inferiority by exploring damaged psyches and idealistic characters with a sense of drab, grounded reality, lacking the ignorant optimism to fancy ourselves world saviours, while feeling superior by making smart art films that don't adhere to deluded fantasies and Christian ideals. Even the recent critically lauded Defendor, a Canadian film about a mentally challenged man that fancies himself a superhero, leaves its hero throwing marbles and wasps at villains more confused than frightened, reducing fantasy to the depressing quotidian. Grown Up Movie Star is a prime example of a stereotypical Canadian film. This is not to be mistaken for unoriginal or contrived, as it is neither of these things, but it does feature sexually confused characters trapped in cyclic patterns of repression, denial and self-destruction, dreaming of an external remedy unlikely to come. Ruby (Tatiana Maslany), a teenage girl in small-town Newfoundland on the cusp of a sexual awakening, fancies the romantic idea of a new boy from the U.S., using her promiscuity as a mode of attraction. Seeing as her mother recently ran off to Hollywood in the hopes of being a movie star, this rationale isn't a surprise, psychologically speaking. Her father, Ray (Shawn Doyle), an ex-NHL player fired after smuggling weed into Canada from the States, similarly has a sexual awakening, beginning to accept his repressed homosexual inclinations by acting on his feelings for the high school gym teacher. As the familial performance of normalcy devolves, a chaotic sensibility enters their lives, threatening the security of all that simultaneously protects and chains them. This clever balance comes from an unpredictable narrative that relies on character rather than didactics. Just as their awkward attempts at deviance end with anger, injury or devastating exposure, their efforts to mask it fall equally short. Thankfully, unlike these characters, very little in this film falls short of excellence, making this DVD a must-see, even if there are no special features. (Mongrel Media)