Published Feb 05, 2009A project of the Canadian Film Centre, Nurse.Fighter.Boy is a sparse film about a single mother, her son and a boxer that enters their lives. The nurse is Jude (Karen LeBlanc), a Jamaican-Canadian woman suffering from Sickle Cell Anaemia, who is devoted to her 12-year-old son Ciel (Daniel J. Gordon).
They are both dreamers, preferring to block out the cold realities of city life by creating a world for each other of hope and magic, warmly lit with old jazz records as the soundtrack.
One night shift, Jude ends up treating Silence (Clark Johnson), a former champion fighter who's resorting to street fighting for money. The have an instant connection and their burgeoning relationship inspires Silence to turn his life around.
The film uses exaggerated colour palettes to emphasize mood, juxtaposing the cold blues of the hospital and Silence's street life with the warm orange hues of Jude and Ciel's home. The script brings the characters together a bit too quickly, with Jude and Silence falling for each other with very little to go on. Even for a movie that plays up the magical, it seems convenient. But Clark Johnson (The Wire) gives a nice, understated performance as Silence, subtly moving towards redemption, and Karen LeBlanc is lovely as Jude.
Newcomer Daniel J. Gordon is remarkably sweet and unselfconscious as Ciel, though he seems too old for the character, which makes the mother/son relationship uncomfortably close, at times.
Nurse.Fighter.Boy is a quiet film, slow and dreamy, with its characters likeable enough to forgive some plot contrivance and heavy-handed visual choices. (Mongrel Media)