Friday, August 17, 2018

DVDebut for Ingrid Veninger's Canadian coming-of-age tale, PORCUPINE LAKE

Sweet, sad, and a little soft around the edges, PORCUPINE LAKE tells the tale of a slightly asthmatic young teenage city girl, Bea (Charlotte Salisbury), who comes to the Ontario countryside, along with her mother, to spend a summer vacation with her dad in the little lakeside community in which he lives and runs the local restaurant/bar. There, she meets a local girl, Kate (Lucinda Armstrong Hall) of her same age, and the two fall into a kind of friendship/ puppy love that could easily grow into something stronger.

As written and directed by Ingrid Veninger (shown at right), the movie is never heavy-handed nor unbelievable as it tracks this budding love story, as well as the coming apart of the relationship between Bea's parents.

Kate comes from a fairly dysfunctional family of her own, and we meet these folk, too, and wince a lot at their unpleasant antics. We also get to know, slightly at least, the community to which Bea and her mom have come and, again, it is shown to us with some credibility and skill.

Performances from the two young girls (shown above, with Ms Hall on the left) are very good indeed, with Kate's aggressive personality nicely complementing Bea's reticent and much less certain one. As Bea's parents, Delphine Roussel and Christopher Bolton (below, with Ms Roussel on the right), are also very fine: quiet, measured and, in the case of Mr. Bolton, slowly revealing.

The direction is competent, too, rarely rising to anything too melodramatic. What keeps the film from being more than merely OK, however, is the screenplay. The narrative and the dialog carry the plot along and connect events properly, but it's all a little too generic, lacking the specificity that might really bring the movie to more immediate and involving life.

As it is, Porcupine Lake is perfectly enjoyable so far as it goes. If you like coming-of-age tales, especially those involving same-sex attraction, there'll be an added hook. I do wish, though, that the film's distributor, Breaking Glass Pictures, had invested in optional English subtitles. The sound quality varies so heavily from scene to scene, with ambient sounds and music absolutely loud enough but dialog so often obscured that I found myself raising and lowering the my volume control throughout the film, which proved annoying as hell.

Running a swift 84 minutes, the movie hit the street this past Tuesday, August 14 -- and is available now, via DVD and digital, for purchase and/or rental

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