As a young man, Emile left his Saskatchewan farm life behind to head to university in Britain, with his brothers, the older brusque and controlling Carl and the younger sensitive Freddy, left to run the family farm. This move was despite Freddy showing greater potential and thus probably benefiting more from academic life. However, Carl wouldn't allow Freddy to leave because of his mechanical expertise which was required to tend to the farm equipment. Emile vowed to return, but never did, which affected Freddy the most. Now in early retirement, Emile, still living in Britain, travels to Victoria, Canada to accept an honorary degree from the university there. In Victoria, he decides to stay with now deceased Carl's grown daughter Nadia, and Nadia's ten year old daughter Maria. Emile had never made any attempt over the years to connect with Nadia or Maria, who only really know him by name. On the surface to Nadia, Emile's visit is purely a need on his part for a free bed while in ... Written by
When they filmed the part where Emile goes on the train, they didn't block off a section of the platform. As a result, you can actually see someone whip their head around after Ian McKellen passes by them. See more »
The film was shot in British Columbia but some parts of the action are set in Saskatchewan. In one Saskatchewan scene, there are mountains on the horizon. There are no mountains in (or visible from) Saskatchewan. See more »
I liked the movie a lot more than I expected. Not that I thought it was going to be a bad movie, but I had no real concept of what I'd think of it so really enjoying it was a nice surprise. We had heard it was slow, but I actually found it to be quite gripping and as such it didn't appear slow at all. At first it was a little distracting watching the movie with Ian McKellen two rows behind us and a couple of seats along, but my focus settled down as we got further in. Not particularly helped by the antarctic blasts of cold coming from the air conditioning right in front of me. I'm lucky I didn't die of hypothermia before the end of the evening. The movie was much more easily identified with than you might expect, being a movie about a 65 year old man and me being anything but. The theme was something I think can get to anyone and what really got me was the story of Emile leaving his two brothers behind and what happened to them subsequently. I think anyone who moves away from their family can understand the need to separate and how easy it can be to let that separation become too vast. As someone who has never lost a close member of my family, and lives in vague terror of the day it finally happens (as it must do unless I'm hit by a bus in the near future), I found the movie very touching and even teared up a couple of times. On a less precise scale, Emile's flaw was that he ran away from responsibility and difficulty and as a result never really lived his life, as far as we can tell. It's always easy to tell ourselves that what we're doing is for the best, but often that can be an excuse for not doing something that seems too hard.
The only flaw I would pick with the movie is that occasionally the music was a little too much. Aside from that the acting was excellent, the script was excellent and the shooting was beautifully done. I think a lot more people will find something to associate with in this movie than might think they would. Have you ever moved away from home? Have you ever not kept in touch when you knew you should? Have you ever been hurt by or betrayed a family member?
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