The Stone Angel Kari Skogland

The Stone Angel Kari Skogland
This adaptation of the Margaret Laurence novel of the same name feels a bit Can-con-ish, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. Essentially it’s a beautifully and faithfully adapted retelling of the original story, featuring some great acting, including a fantastic breakout performance by Christine Horne as the young Hagar (that is, our heroine). Still, there’s something about it that feels like medicine, like a film they make you see in school because it’s "good for you” and "educational.” It shouldn’t feel that way but it’s just a little too earnest. Hagar Shipley has always lived an unconventional life and now in her 80s, as her journey nears its end, she finds herself drifting from past to present, reliving the important moments. As she reflects on the past, she’s able to come to terms with some of the tragedies she’s been through and the joys she always denied herself. What’s really good about the film is the performances. Along with Horne, Ellen Burstyn lends a hand as the older Hagar and the two actresses effectively share a fiery spirit and fierce inner determination. Cole Hauser plays the young Hagar’s love interest, Bram, a passionate man who her father disapproved of but who she married anyway. In a really neat casting move, his real-life dad, Wings Hauser, plays the older Bram, a broken, drunken shell of the dashing young man Hagar fell in love with. A small role (as their son’s girlfriend, Arlene) goes to "it girl” Ellen Page, who in this particular film looks so much like the long-lost youngest sister, or strange love child, of Jennifer and Cynthia Dale that it is almost creepy. The DVD is pretty bare bones, with no special features to speak of. (Alliance)