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The Bay of Love and Sorrows is a haunting modern tragedy set on the rural shores of New Brunswick's Bay of Miramichi. In late summer 1973, Michael Skid, the son of a well-to-do judge, returns home and rents a dilapidated farm. He begins to spread the gospel of communal ideals, which he has absorbed during his travels in India. His new worldliness and ideas go over well with impoverished siblings Madonna and Silver Brassaurd and the hopelessly naïve Carrie. They go over less well with Tom Donnerel, a young farmer and Carrie's fiancé. Wounded by Tom's derision, Michael befriends ex-convict Everette Hatch, who, recognizing opportunity, exploits Michael's ideas to his advantage. Believing himself capable of understanding people from the other side of the track, Michael fails to recognize that the ex-con is manipulating him and so sets off a catastrophic chain of events in the community. Written by
Marketing a film can be just as important as making it fail to publicize it properly, and people may not hear about it, or you might miss the demographic you're aiming for. The print ad for The Bay of Love and Sorrows features a dark-haired beauty staring out with a brooding look and an enigmatic half smile, yet gives no hint of what the film could be about. The ad is also peppered with several vague testimonials and, try as you might, you probably won't recognize the sources (they would do as well to quote the Sheboygan Bugle or Gnome Gazette). Luckily for the marketing department, they won't have to shoulder all the blame when this film fails to dazzle at the box office.
Based on the much-beloved book (or so I'm told) of the same name by David Adams Richards, The Bay of Love and Sorrows is set in 1970's New Brunswick, Newcastle to be precise. The story follows several young people who've been unable to improve on their lot in life post high school: there is the sexy and rugged Madonna, who, along with her sheepish brother Silver survives on menial jobs and a bit of poaching, conservative Tom who tries to make ends meet on his dirt farm while he watches his `special' brother Vincent, and Tom's innocent down home girl Carrie. The tempo of their boring lives change when Michael, the world travelling son of a judge (apparently only the rich kids have parents) comes back to town with tales of exotic locales. Enter the scheming ex-con Everette (who may as well have been named Iago) and chaos ensues.
It's hard not to root for an underdog believe me when I say I tried. Unfortunately there simply isn't anything about this film that makes the viewer sit up and take notice- in a good way that is: the dialogue lacks spark, the pacing is positively glacial, the characters are poorly (if ever) developed and the acting is average at the best of times. The story itself is an ongoing game of one-upmanship, with each new plot element more far fetched and melodramatic that the last, culminating in the violent disorganized mess that is the final act. Save yourself some sorrow and find another film.
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