The Passing Years Only Add To This Youth's Obsession In A Fine Novel's Reshaping, Competently Brought To The Screen.
Eleven-year-old Scott Dabney (capably played by Shane O'Brien) has developed a rather deep crush upon his swimming instructor, Hilah Brown (Wendy Crewson), who is especially compassionate toward the lad since the death of his mother. When Hilah moves to New York City in search of fame and fortune, Scott is distressed since the comely young woman is the "prettiest" girl that he knows, and she has been the person to whom he has been confiding after his mother's demise. At their leavetaking, the boy gives Hilah his prized arrowhead in order that she will think of him, and it is apparent that he hopes, upon her possible return, to renew their relationship. Seven years pass and Scott has grown to be a strapping youth (Lance Guest); one day he is pleasantly surprised when Hilah arrives back in his community, ostensibly there to stay, as she has been hired as a teacher in the local high school. Equipped with arrogance native to the young, Scott is convinced that he will be able to win Hilah's heart in spite of the difference in their ages, although a significant obstacle to success of his suit looms when he discovers that Hilah and Scott's father Phillip (Thomas Hauff) have become romantically attached. Scott's outrage at this familial contention brings an expectedly strong reaction upon his part, and he takes a reluctant Hilah upon a long junket into an adjoining county, from where came his late mother. A fancifully devised sense of idealism for his mother's geographic background is clearly contrasted with his longing for Hilah, and after she and Phillip announce their engagement to be married, a fair test of the young man's budding maturity is in the offing. The film is based upon Katie Letcher Lyle's 1991 novel, targeted for young readers, DARK BUT FULL OF DIAMONDS. This work chronicles a greater age spread (nine years) between Scott and Hilah than is depicted by the film, with his puberty-tinged rite of passage occurring at the age of 16 in the book, only four years after his mother's passing. These alterations for the movie somewhat modify the motivations, actions, and reactions of the various storyline characters. These adjustments notwithstanding, this low budget film is, in general, fruitful on its own terms as a true-to-type prescriptive offering from the family-oriented production company Karl Lorimar Home Video. It is directed by esteemed and ever able Claude Jutra, in effectively workmanlike fashion, a neatly constructed and compelling melodrama. Guest earns the acting laurels with his engaging turn as a youth facing a turning point, while Crewson, toward the beginning of her film career, delivers one of her better performances for this Canadian made-affair.
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