Monday, October 1, 2007

Canvas - So Real It Hurts

Canvas - Joe Greco writes and directs an extraordinarily realistic film capturing a nuclear family's struggle with the mother's schizophrenia. Greco writes from his own life and every scene is completely believable, no over the top nuttiness, no artificial tearjerking. This is a low budget, independent film but Maricia Gay Harden may get another oscar nomination out of it. Joe Pantoliano is more engaging and more disciplined than ever before. Devon Gearhart, a ten year old playing a ten year old, will draw comparisons to Jodie Foster. Greco turns the family into a fourth character, a trinity with a life of its own. The sound is masterful, background noises and shifting volumes capture Mom's panic, a ten year old's dream of madness, the sudden shifts from the inner mind to the outside view. Canvas finds a few moments of humor (more are needed, especially in the first forty minutes) and some room for optimism at the close, but it is a character study with a minimal plot. A character study so realistic that it demands empathy - empathy that produces pain scoring at least an eight on a scale of ten. Canvas stays real to the bittersweet end. Don't expect an artificial plot twist to send you soaring home, or even the release of a tearjerker. Worth seeing, but pick the right night and understand what you are in for.

As Good As News learned on Oct. 3 that this review has been quoted extensively in the The Official Canvas Weblog.

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