In the Canadian movie, Crackie, things are bleak in small-town Newfoundland for Mitzi Jesso, an awkward and insecure teenager who lives with her nan, Bride (a tough cookie with very little money who trolls the garbage dump for choice castoffs) because her mother abandoned her in favour of liquor and men. Mary Walsh gives a powerful performance as Bride, a hard-living, loud-talking woman who almost always pulls back just before she reveals that she might have a heart, and Meghan Greeley’s Mitzi feels so true that she put me right back inside my own adolescent angst. In the course of the film there are many opportunities to succumb to the cliché of everyone changing for the better and everything turning out well, but the story veers away just in time. Not that there aren't glimmers of hope: the one bright light in the film is, believe it or not, hairdressing school, which up until now, seemed to me to be an unlikely place to find salvation. This is a wonderful movie.
October 15, 2009
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