Lauren Lee Smith struggles with her father’s cinematic legacy in Cinemanovels.
CINEMANOVELS (Terry Miles). 89 minutes. Opens Friday (July 18). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
If you're wondering what it's like to be the child of someone like Michelangelo Antonioni, Cinemanovels has an idea - and it's not a happy one.
The Canadian indie stars The Listener's Lauren Lee Smith as Grace, the daughter of a renowned "existential" filmmaker who is tasked with curating a retrospective after his death.
Grace has never seen his films, but she seems to have inherited the malaise that her father's generation of filmmakers dealt with in their work. She has it all - a caring husband, a tidy apartment and supportive friends - but remains detached. She pretends to her husband that she wants a baby when it's obvious that she'd rather just disappear like Anna in L'Avventura.
Smith gives a stellar performance in the role, building a character whose motivation is a mystery but whose emotions are deeply felt. Too bad the film doesn't really have anywhere to go with such talent.
Writer/director Terry Miles builds wonderful, intimate moments between his actors, framing them in scenarios that are attractive, if ultimately hollow. He's dealing with complicated feelings and messy relationships in a manner that feels too neat and sedated.
The film draws simplistic connections between Grace's depression, its root and resolution, resulting in a flat character study.