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Wilby Wonderful (2004)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 9 September 2005 (Spain)
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A day-in-the-life dark comedy concerning a group of islanders, their respective secrets, and one man's plan to kill himself quietly.

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2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dan Jarvis
...
Duck MacDonald (as Callum Keith Rennie)
...
Rebecca Jenkins ...
Sandra Anderson
...
Carol French
...
Buddy French
...
Mackenzie Fisher
...
Stan Lastman
Terri Sanderson ...
Reporter
Chris Saunderson ...
Photographer
Caleb Langille ...
Taylor
Patrick Keeler ...
Stuart
...
Mayor Brent Fisher
Chett Buchanan ...
Golfing Businessman #1
Mike Goodfellow ...
Golfing Businessman #2
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everybody gets a second chance.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 September 2005 (Spain)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 2,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Gross' two children Hannah and Jack Gross appear in the background of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Duck MacDonald: Aren't you your mother's daughter.
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Crazy Credits

Assistant to Mr. Hawco - Jack Gross See more »

Soundtracks

All About You
Performed by Young Ideas
Written by Greg Millson and Mitch Willer
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User Reviews

Review from the 2004 TIFF
13 September 2004 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.

Wilby Wonderful is the latest film from director, writer, playwright, and actor Daniel MacIvor. Set in a small island town, the film follows a cast of characters (played by a veritable who's who of Canadian cinema) over the course of a single day.

There is the woman who grew up in Wilby, moved away, and returned with her teenaged daughter to reopen a cafe (Rebecca Jenkins and Ellen Page, who previously worked together on the MacIvor-penned Marion Bridge). There is one of the town's police officers (Paul Gross), and his businesswoman wife (Sandra Oh), who find themselves in a marriage that has drifted apart. There is the town mayor, played by Maury Chaykin, and a dyslexic painter, played by Callum Keith Rennie. And finally, there is a video store owner (James Allodi), who spends much of the movie making ineffectual attempts to commit suicide. Lurking under it all is a scandal that will affect them all.

The film takes a look at the connections between the people in a small town, their hopes and dreams (both realized and not), and their prejudices. It shows people trying to both discover new, and recapture lost, feelings. As Paul Gross' character puts it while standing on the shore, looking at the mainland: seeing where you came from lets you remember what you wanted for the future.

I really enjoyed this movie, my one Canadian pick for the festival this year. The cast acquits themselves well, and despite the relatively large number of characters, I didn't feel like I was distracted by too many story lines, or that any one character received more attention than the others. And despite the limited timeframe of the movie, a single day, the story did not feel rushed or hurried. I thought the resolutions found or not found by the characters followed from what was seen and felt on screen, and didn't come out of the blue.

Daniel MacIvor, along with pretty much the entire cast, attended the screening. MacIvor gave quite an entertaining introduction before the film and stayed afterwards for a Q&A session:

  • MacIvor calls the film a "Canadian commercial film", and wanted it to


be familiar, but with a twist to wake everyone up.

  • The story took about three years to make it to the screen, starting


from around New Year's Eve 2001 at a party of Canadian director Jeremy Podeswa.

  • MacIvor wanted to write a "guy with a heart story" rather than his


usual fare.

  • The movie was originally to be called Honey, but then the Jessica


Alba movie of the same name came out, which necessitated a change. This lead to the current title, which affected part of the story.

  • MacIvor said the theater (and the movie) contained pretty much every


famous Canadian actor, assuming Don McKellar and Sarah Polley were in the room (not sure about Polley, but I did see McKellar talking with the cast outside the theatre prior to the showing). He found it weirdly easy to get the cast he wanted, helped by being able to tell people that he wrote specific parts for them.

  • MacIvor was asked if writing for a wide range of characters was


harder than writing for a few. His response was that he wanted to learn how, and figured there was no better way than to try. He was worried that the audience might attach themselves to a specific storyline and spend much of the movie waiting to get back to their favoured plot, but those fears were dispelled by the excellent acting of the cast.

  • Because the film is set during the course of a single day, editing


and continuity is harder.

  • MacIvor was asked if he is now favouring films over plays or


vice-versa. He said he isn't favouring either, and is currently working on both a new play and a new screenplay. Asked about the difference between the two , he said that what he doesn't like about films (vs. writing plays) is that once a film is complete, he can't change it.

  • When starting to write, things for the stage tend to start out


post-modern; but for a movie, it is usually an idea about watching somebody.

  • About the differences between film and theatre, he likes to use the


quote, "it's not apples and oranges or cats and dogs, it's apples and dogs", they're completely different. He likes to think from the theatre background he's able to bring a collaborative, inclusive feeling to the set. Art in theatre is live in front of the audience, whereas in film it is light projected on a flat surface and the art has happened previously.

  • As a writer, he finds that sometimes for film he writes too much.




  • Asked about writing specifically Canadian stories, he said that while


he has made a commitment to stay in Canada and more specifically, in Nova Scotia, he likes to keep stories open so that people do not focus on watching a story about a specific group (islanders, easterners, Canadians, etc).


28 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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