Portrait of a Serial Monogamist Christina Zeidler and John Mitchell
Published Feb 11, 2016In Portrait of a Serial Monogamist, indie directors Christina Zeidler and John Mitchell's whip-smart, Toronto-based romantic comedy, Canadian small screen star Diane Flacks plays Elsie Neufeld, an early 40-something who may have just made the biggest mistake of her life by breaking up with her long-time girlfriend (played by Second City alum Carolyn Taylor). At a close friend's insistence, Elsie attempts to stay single for five months rather than jump back into another five-year relationship (hence the title), and along the way learns the ropes of modern romance and courtship, from finding friends on Facebook to meeting new people at the local dog park.
Although light on character motivation (Elsie's romantic past and her struggles with it are never quite explained in full) and development outside of the film's main lead (the supporting cast is so dense it's often hard to discern who's who), Portrait of a Serial Monogamist's biggest strength is capturing the common, post-millennial romantic crossroads many adults find themselves at, unsure of whether to continue on with the status quo or venture off into the unknown (the end may come as a disappointment to those who think the grass is always greener).
To help Elsie on her journey of self-discovery, Zeidler and Mitchell have assembled a strong supporting cast from Canada's LGBTQ comedy and acting communities (including comedian Sabrina Jalees and familiar face Gavin Crawford), as well as a wicked soundtrack courtesy of composer and music supervisor Don Pyle (Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet), who also wrangles local favourites like Army Girls and Fiver to flesh out the film's quieter moments (Vag Halen's Vanessa Dunn also shines on screen as the lead's love interest).
But perhaps the biggest star of all is the city itself. Early on in the film, Elsie describes Toronto as a town made up of many small towns (with the queer community occupying one of the smallest and strongest portions of all). Like Take This Waltz and Porch Stories before it, Portrait of a Serial Monogamist shows Canada's largest city not as an alienating place, but a rich tapestry made all the better by its differing and ever-evolving communities.
(Marina Cordoni Entertainment)