The Republic of Love Deepa Mehta

Canadian director Deepa Mehta's latest offering adapts Carol Shields' novel of the same name about lonely late night radio disc jockey Tom Avery (Bruce Greenwood), a hopeless romantic who has almost given up on finding love in his life.

Things start to look up for Tom when he meets the likeminded Faye (Emilia Fox), a mermaid expert who feared she would never find a relationship that would live up to the exceedingly happy standard set by her parents’ marriage. It's love at first sight between Tom and Faye — sparks, fireworks, the whole nine yards. Everything is blissful and backlit until a sudden event destroys Faye's faith in the existence of love and plunges them both into loneliness and despair.

Mehta's visual prowess seems to be maturing, using a variety of interesting shots and techniques that, although a little too flashy sometimes for the simple story, betray an increasing directorial confidence. She creates two very distinct visual realms, contrasting the cold glass and steel world of a barren, loveless Toronto with a heightened world of warmth and saturated colours once love enters the picture.

The film, however, suffers from the same stilted dialogue and clumsily self-referential jokes that plagued Mehta's last film, Bollywood/Hollywood. The storytelling is heavy-handed and obvious, which weighs the film down tremendously. The excellent cast, featuring some of Canada's best acting talent (Martha Henry, Jan Rubes, Jackie Burroughs, Gary Farmer, etc.) does their best to elevate the material. Bruce Greenwood gives a great performance in the leading role, with an easygoing charm that often makes the dialogue seem plausible (no small feat) and Edward Fox gives a remarkably understated turn as Faye's father. (Seville)