A 90-year-old woman, rapidly losing her memory and knowing that sooner or later her life will be over, returns to the Manitoba farmhouse she grew up in to try and make peace with her dysfunctional family.
A young boy working in Nova Scotia's treacherous coal mines in the beginning of the 20th century, finds a friend in a pony, one of the ponies used to haul coal up from the tunnels to be used at the railway and steel mill.
A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother's floundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch.
Wilby is the name of a small island in the Canadian Maritimes and the name of the main town located on the island. According to residents, there are two types of people who live on Wilby: islanders (people who were born on Wilby) and non-islanders. Among the townsfolk of Wilby are: single mom and recently returned islander Sandra Anderson, who was known as the girl in town with the reputation, something that has not changed in her adult years; Sandra's teen-aged daughter, Emily, who doesn't want to end up like her mother but can only think about making out with her new boyfriend; Buddy French, the local police officer who is having unspoken marital problems with his non-islander wife, Carol, the town realtor whose controlling behavior is pushing her and others around her on the verge of a nervous breakdown; the Mayor, Brent Fisher, who is secretly planning for his life post politics; dyslexic Duck McDonald, the town handyman; and recently separated non-islander Dan Jarvis who, because... Written by
Paul Gross played a different kind of Canadian police officer in a television series called Due South (1994), where instead of being a local police officer, he was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable. See more »
A day in the life on Wilby Island, off Nova Scotia, may not sound like a resource for rich storytelling, but in the gifted hands of writer/director Daniel MacIvor and inordinately talented Canadian cast WILBY WONDERFUL penetrates more dark secrets, exposes more astray lives, and addresses more human frailties than almost all of the competition. This is independent film-making at its finest, with all of the emphasis on quality and little concern for the big budget special effects that mire so many films today.
On the little island, divided between islanders and mainlanders 'visiting', lives an array of lonely people. We are introduced to a 'cause celebre' that happened on the beach (though the facts are hazy) and investigating the scandal are police officers Buddy French (Paul Gross) and his somewhat loose cannon Stan (portrayed by MacIvor himself). Buddy's wife Carol (Sandra Oh) is a very busy real estate person, assisted by her doofus secretary Deena (Kathryn MacLellan), out to sell a home to the town mayor (Maury Chaykin) and family (Susannah Hoffman and Marcella Grimaux), and while Carol is fretting over details, her meandering husband Buddy is secreting an affair with island returnee wannabe café owner Sandra Anderson (Rebecca Jenkins), whose libidinous past negatively influences her young daughter Emily (Ellen Page) in her new physical tryst with young Taylor (Caleb Langille). And while each of these stories unfolds, the town gossip Irene (Mary Ellen MacLean) keeps her evil eye on the soon-to-be-made apparent scandal that video store owner Dan Jarvis (James Allodi), who spends the entire movie attempting variations on suicide, and town painter Duck MacDonald (Callum Keith Rennie) are to be outed as being gay. It is the strange interplay of each of these lonely, needy characters that brings brilliant focus to the tiny bit of reality that is actually heartfelt.
MacIvor and friends pull off this strange little black comedy with ease and aplomb and the film is a charmer in every way - from script to cinematography (Rudolf Blahacek) to musical score (Michael Timmins). This is a splendid little movie that deserves a very wide audience. Grady Harp
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