|Index||3 reviews in total|
Larry Sole (Joel Evans) is a loner native teen living in Canada's
north. His oddness and his dark past has made him a constant target of
the school bully. He is hopelessly infatuated with Juliet Hope (Chloe
Rose). One day he's rescued from another bullying by Johnny Beck (Kiowa
Gordon). The three high school kids would deal with intense issues that
will change their lives.
Joel Evans does a lot of mumble acting. He's mostly a low energy character, with some explosive anger. It does fit the character, but he needs more intensity not just when he's fighting. Chole Rose and Kiowa Gordon also do a pretty good job. Anita Doron is the writer/director. The movie needs more pace. There are too many slow spots. It also need more style to emphasize the isolation and the culture of the north. It's understandable since this was filmed in Sudbury and not the extreme north. But the movie is missing that something that would otherwise make this a unique movie. It plays like an average teen melodrama with some dark intense issues.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the type of indie, in my opinion, that you have to have high
tolerance for rather unrelenting grimness, as various lost souls try to
survive and find their way in the world. It's written and directed by
Anita Doran, and based on the novel of the same name by Richard Van
Set in the Northwest Territories of Canada, Joel Nathan Evans stars as Larry Sole, a Native-American from the Dogrib tribe, living with physical and mental scars from a horrific fire event that occurred with his father some time before. As the movie progresses, we get flashbacks as to what happened, but it's not till the tail end of the film that it becomes clearer.
Larry is viciously bullied by a Fort Simmer High School classmate Darcy, believably played Adam Butcher, mainly due to an incident involving Darcy's dog that was in the care of Larry at the time. However, when the bold and free spirit Johnny comes to the school, he befriends Larry and tries to stand up for him against Darcy. Johnny, though, has his own problems, coming from a broken home and living in poverty with his mother and younger brother.
Larry fantasizes about his beautiful blond classmate Juliet, ably portrayed by Chloe Rose. However, she's attracted to Johnny and they soon begin a sexual relationship. This becomes the heart of the movie, in my opinion, as the three lost souls begin to hang out together and get to know each other. Larry starts to come out of his trauma a little while he's with them and even displays a sarcastic sense of humor.
The veteran talented actor Bejamin Bratt also plays a role here, and adds well to the mix, as Jed, a jack-of-all trades in the wilderness and the boyfriend of Larry's mother. He slowly begins to bond with Larry and tries to guide him in his life.
This film, in my opinion, is certainly not for everyone with its' rather constant darkness. However, I stayed with it, as it's well acted and overall I thought rewarding enough to give it an overall recommend for those that like this type of drama.
"The Lesser Blessed" takes a dark but somewhat conventional high school
melodrama and sets it on an Indian reservation in Canada. It's a
revealing portrait of lives on the edge of poverty (no casinos here,
apparently) and the limiting, two-fisted world a sensitive soul world
like Larry might never escape.
Director Anita Doron, who also wrote the script based on the novel by Richard Van Camp, has assembled a uniformly solid cast, starting with an impressive debut by Evans, whose brown eyes are both soulful and watchful. It's a performance that commands our attention and empathy.
This is a coming-of-age film, with a distinctly northern Canadian flavour, that will appeal to both moody adolescents and discerning adults.
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