Another of those well-made small Canadian films that nobody has seen. Where the technical production and the performances transform a rather ordinary story into a nice little feature. There is a relatively complex background story and I've never seen a better job of bringing a viewer up to speed in the first 20 minutes of a film. By that point you are aware of all the issues and have already started to strongly identify with the heroine.
"Johnny's Girl" is amazingly like Allen Moyle's 1999 masterpiece "New Waterford Girl"; both in subject and in style. Each involve the new girl in Canadian/Alaskan towns where the theme song is The Animal's "We Got To Get Out of This Place" (in this case literally as that song is part of the film's soundtrack. In "Johnny's Girl", set in the late 1960's, the new arrival (Mia Kirshner) leaves her divorced mother in a mental hospital and comes to the new town to live with her father (Treat Williams). As in "New Waterford Girl" the heroine spends the movie talking about getting out of the little town and heading for the big city, then has second thoughts when given the opportunity.
The story is a little too obvious and compressed. No sooner have things finally worked out between father and daughter than utterly predictable tragedy strikes. It would have benefited from a little misdirection.
But the upside of a poor screenplay is something very special as the actors rise to the occasion and pull something out of nothing. Kirshner and Williams (consistently excellent in their other films) give wonderful performances here, quite possibly their best as they seem to inspire each other. This is simply the best father-daughter film portrayal out there. Making this little film a must see for their fans and a good choice for anyone who likes quirky little character studies. Highly recommended.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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