|Index||8 reviews in total|
The movie takes a coming of age story and makes it relevant for
everyone. The shots and scenery of the mountains are breathtaking.
There are some very funny, sly moments in it -- the counterpoint between draft-dodger/back to the land parents and 20-something children trying to make sense of it for themselves is very poignant. Great script. You really get a sense of why some people have chosen to spend their lives in this valley - and how the choice sometimes is overlooked when you grew up there.
Definitely a must see -- not just for the great scenery and beautiful shots, but for a story that resonates.
I saw A Simple Curve in the theatre and am sad that due to its limited
release most people won't have a chance to enjoy the grandeur of the
cinematography the way its intended. Visually, the film manages to
capture the Kootenay region in a way that few films manage. It is well
worth hunting down a theatre that is showing this film - it deserves to
The story is also a wonderful one. A coming of age story with some nice twists, it has a gentle humour to it that manages to poke fun at all the hippie stereotypes while still showing respect for the idealism of the era.
Kris Lemche as Caleb manages to give a consistently strong performances despite the fact his role is pretty demanding and he is in every scene. The wisdom and humour that Caleb shows through the movie is a pleasure to watch.
A SIMPLE CURVE is exactly the sort of movie that most viewers would
never watch but which could prove rewarding if you actually give it a
chance. While it has no explosions or big-name actors, it does have
some excellent acting and production values.
As for the story, it took some time to grow on me because the people in it were so odd compared to the typical Western family. Instead of being set in the city or suburbs or even the farmland, this film was made in the middle of no where in the mountains of Western Canada. While this was odd, the types of people in the film were also quite odd. The father, Jim, was a 70s hippie who came to the country to avoid the draft and has extremely high ideals and an unusual moral compass. He's often uncompromising but also with an odd sense of right and wrong. Caleb, his 27 year-old son, is devoted to him but also extremely frustrated with Jim's inflexibility--given that their business is going down the drain and Jim will seemingly do nothing to change his ways. Despite feeling little in common with the pair, I kept watching and realized that in spite of the weirdness of their ideals compared to the mainstream, their struggle was in many ways quite universal--a tough dad and a son who secretly wants to punch him in the face--a theme that seldom makes it to film. In many ways, this reminded me of THE JAZZ SINGER--except that A SIMPLE CURVE is much more watchable.
Through all the film and its little quirks, the acting and writing were lovely and the rugged scenery was very welcome. About the only negatives were the unresolved bits and pieces in the plot by the end of the film as well as the unlikability of many of the characters. Still, given all its strengths and how non-derivative the plot is, it's well worth seeking out as an answer to the usual Hollywood fare.
After viewing Aubrey Nealon's first feature "A Simple Curve" I was
struck by the ability of this young writer to evoke such a compelling
impression of growing up in the wilds of British Columbia with Hippie
parents intent on getting back to the land. Nealon wrote and directed
this beautiful film and really demonstrates the makings of a great
This coming of age story really does a brilliant job of intertwining the story of the young protagonist Caleb and his father Jim. The tension set off between the two characters is heightened by the interesting similarities between Jim's first days in the Valley and Caleb's struggle to escape. The more Caleb rebels against the ideals of his father the closer he comes to him.
The dialogue moves seamlessly from drama and high seriousness to dry wit and sarcasm, weaving together the stories of a strong cast of central characters. The writing for each character is excellent and the actors' performances only serve to flesh out Nealon's already keen instincts for character development.
As a twenty something myself trying to escape the clutches of parental conditioning and New Age utopianism, I can say that this film really resonated with me. Like Caleb, I too have a father obsessed with Buckminster Fuller. And like Caleb, I am also struggling to make sense of myself in a world which does not conform easily to the ideals instilled in me by my parents.
I highly recommend this film.
Saw this at VIFF, as the Canadian Images opener. There are some lovely
aerial shots of the area. This is great. And there are some really
funny character moments, and solid comic dialogue. But where, oh where,
did the story/plot go? This is a film that cannot be described as
"character driven" -- there is an attempt at plot on some level, to do
with a long-lost family friend who returns to start up a business. But
somewhere that gets lost, and the comic scenes end up driving the film
Something happened in post, I'm thinking, as it just feels like a whole bunch of story hit the floor and not the screen.
Don't get me wrong -- the director/writer has talent. But at the end of the night I was happy to know I hadn't had to fork over hard cash to sit through it. There was just no drive to keep my attention.
A SIMPLE CURVE is a little Canadian film courtesy of Film Movement that
has a nice style and solid cast to relate what happened to the men and
women who fled to Canada to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War. Since
the Baby Boomer Generation now makes up a large part of the audience
this story will resonate with both parents and children. 'A simple
curve' may refer to the woodworking genius of the main characters, but
is also refers to the results of happenstance from a period of free
love resulting in some questions about biological parenting, throwing a
simple curve into the philosophy of family.
Caleb (Kris Lemche) lives in the extraordinarily beautiful mountainous wilds of British Columbia with his father Jim (Michael Hogan), barely surviving on the meager income of their woodworking shop. The mother/wife died some time ago from a protracted illness and that event has both bonded the father/son and created a festering pain they must face daily. Into their lives returns an old friend of Jim's from the hippie days of expatriation: Matthew (Matt Craven) returns from the US as a man of means by way of ecotourism and plans to build a lodge on the lake near Jim and Caleb. Tension exists between Jim and Matthew, but Caleb sees Matthew as a financial savior of his business as Matthew consents to have Caleb and Jim (unbeknownst to Jim) make furniture prototypes for the lodge. Caleb appears wedded to his hometown, dating only women who live there and traveling little - a factor that encourages many people to advise Caleb to make the break from his family and seek his own identity. A current hippie couple - Erika (Sarah Lind) and Buck (Kett Turton) - find their way into Jim's graces and live on the property, a re-creation in many ways of Jim's and Matthew's past. The peak of change in the story occurs when Matthew loses funding for the lodge (and thus the monetary security of Jim and Caleb's business) and that tension reveals another secret curve: both Jim and Matthew sexually shared Caleb's mother and his true biological father is left in question. Caleb is devastated and witnesses another curve: he has performed a similar act with Erika resulting in a pregnancy that could be the progeny of either Caleb or Buck. Matthew once again leaves the beauty of Canada for the security of the US and Jim and Caleb are left to sort things out, finding new lives of their own with some surprising circumstances.
Aubrey Nealon wrote and directed this little film and on most levels it is successful. The cast is solid but the star of the film is the majestic beauty of British Columbia - and that seems to be intended. This is not a great movie but it is a worthy exploration into the fallout of the Hippie Generation. For many of us it simply clicks! Grady Harp
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Still waters are deceiving if its body is landlocked. Don't let the
tranquility of this lake fool you. It would churn if it could, just
like the thrashing ocean in Woody Allen's "Interiors". Matthew(Matt
Craven) makes waves you can't see when his plane makes a splash on the
fresh water surface. The lives of Jim(Michael Hogan) and his son
Caleb(Kris Lemche) are going to be challenged for the first time since
Margie's death. Slocan Valley may be a rural outpost somewhere deep in
the boonies of British Columbia, but this sleepy hamlet has its share
of lurid secrets. Don't let the flannel fool you. In this sense, "A
Simple Curve" is like a kinder, gentler "Blue Velvet". Matthew's
arrival forces Jim to revisit the past, and relive his wife's death
"A Simple Curve" tells the story about a father and son who runs a "fine carpentry" shop that sells handmade wood furniture. What's particularly striking about this beautifully photographed and well-paced Canadian indie is the generous amount of time it spends on people and their jobs. In major studio films, a character's place of occupation is where talking happens, not work. This attention to detail, to the specifics of real spent time in a person's actual life is refreshing, albeit not particularly engrossing.
As Caleb's life is transformed by Jim's startling news about his past, the lake never budges from its postcard-like repose. That's why Caleb, at 27, needs to leave the nest and move away. The water never changes. He never changes. He needs to tell his father to "f*** off". He spent his whole life next to a lake, now it's time for this young man to see the ocean.
Comparable to John Sayles' Sunshine State in its overarching theme:
that the dreams of one generation, however noble, may not be the dreams
of their children. Can you achieve your own identity without rebelling
against your parents? The movie suggests you can't -- a conclusion
expressed in more colourful terms by Matt Craven's character Matthew.
It's not a fast-moving movie, but I was pulled in, thanks to the performances of Lemche, Craven and Battlestar Galactica's Michael Hogan. Looking forward to director Aubrey Nealon's next project, though one suspects bits of autobiography were all over the feature film debut of this New Denver, B.C. product.
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