Kiowa Gordon (left) and Joel Evans play in the by-the-numbers Canuck drama The Lesser Blessed.
THE LESSER BLESSED (Anita Doron). 86 minutes. Opens Friday (May 31). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
The Lesser Blessed feels like the sort of movie no one much cared about as long as it ticked off a lot of boxes on some Telefilm bureaucrat's list.
Set in a remote town in the Northwest Territories, the coming-of-age drama follows sensitive First Nations teenager Larry Sole (Joel Evans), who, because he's moody and conflicted about stuff, obviously lives with a buried secret. We also know he has a buried secret because director Anita Doron keeps cutting to shots of Larry in the bathtub, where we glimpse what look like burn scars on his flesh.
Infatuated with a pretty classmate (Chloe Rose) and befriended by a volatile newcomer (Kiowa Gordon), Larry finds himself forging new relationships, but his emotional issues keep him from properly fitting in. And eventually, as in any coming-of-age drama, it all comes to a head with a lot of shouting and crying.
It just isn't interesting, because director Doron (who also adapted Richard Van Camp's novel for the screen) is more interested in creating striking images than in working with her actors. Tamara Podemski and Benjamin Bratt are great as a long-term off-and-on couple, but the teen cast is utterly at sea.
Evans's performance is a feature-length pout, while Gordon turns out to be Canada's answer to Zac Efron in range as well as looks