Spencer Van Wyck and the gifted Tatiana Maslany appear in Picture Day.
PICTURE DAY (Kate Melville). 93 minutes. Opens Friday (May 24). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNN
As Claire, a troubled high schooler repeating Grade 12 and caught between the adult and teenage worlds, Tatiana Maslany (Grown Up Movie Star, TV's Orphan Black) makes the rising-star label look like it's for real.
Neglected at home and tagged as the school slut by classmates, she establishes a tentative friendship with Henry (Spencer Van Wyck), a guy two years younger than her whom she used to babysit. She's also dating a much older rock musician (Steven McCarthy, also excellent).
This is writer/director Kate Melville's debut feature, and it often shows. Though the elements have a rawly realistic feel - Claire's escapade on the road with her boyfriend's band rings especially true - there are way too many of them. She's crammed so much into the narrative, she's forced to drop plot points. (What happened to that homemade acid?)
But you care about the characters, the portrayal of the friendship between Claire and Henry is a major asset and it's expertly anchored by the charismatic Maslany.
Call her unstoppable.