CANVAS (Joseph Greco). Opens Friday (December 12). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
In Canvas, which screened at a couple of film festivals and can currently be found on certain arty DVD shop shelves, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden plays a schizophrenic woman and Joe Pantoliano and Devon Gearhart her put-upon husband and son.
Based on writer/director Joseph Greco's own experiences with his ill mother, the film has a TV-movie-of-the-week feel, but it's sensitive in the way it depicts the shame surrounding mental illness, as well as the financial and emotional toll the disease takes on many families.
Harden and Pantoliano are predictably brilliant together; Pantoliano in particular gets to venture beyond his usual onscreen weaselly stereotype to create a complicated man who still loves his wife even though she no longer resembles the woman he married.
What's refreshing is how Greco mixes absurd humour in with the gravitas.