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Splinters

Canada, English, 94 mins

  • Director: Thom Fitzgerald
  • Writer: Thom Fitzgerald; Lee-Anne Poole
  • Producer: Thom Fitzgerald; Doug Pettigrew

CGiii Comment

Bitter/sweet bisexuality...with an eye-popping tattoo!

Active bisexuals can never be faithful...well, that's that [old] cat out of the box! Cue: Audible meows, caterwauling and screeches!

Splinters is a stereotypical tale of a stereotypical bisexual woman...with a little twist. Belle has done the big coming out as a lesbian...now, she's a closeted bisexual...in a heterosexual relationship...which kind of negates that whole bisexuality-is-just-a-stepping-stone-to-full-blown-homo kind of thing! Well, at least, the filmmaker has brought - not only - something new to the table...but, has swiveled it around completely!

The problem with Splinters is Belle herself...although performed perfectly, she's just not very likeable! Me, me, me, me-ow. Make her loathesome, make her lovable...all this sitting on-the-fence gets the story nowhere. Even her boyfriend, he's a rather flaccid foil to her sword...in other words, a well-trodden door-mat...with little in the way of conflict. Fight back man!

The conflict comes between the lesbian-loathing, bisexual-doubting, heterosexual-loving mother and her I'll-do-anyone-who-comes-along daughter...yes, it is that old bisexual cliché yet again! Cue: Meows, caterwauling and screeches!

By no stretch of the imagination is it a bad film...with the comedy set-pieces [and that tattoo], it's definitely an entertaining wee ride...it just needed a bit more rambunctious conflict! The result being...wait for it...as indecisive as a bisexual.

Cue: Deafening meows, caterwauling and screeches!


Trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

Two decades after his inspired feature debut The Hanging Garden won best Canadian Feature at TIFF, Thom Fitzgerald again explores interconnections of sexual identity, family, and small-town Nova Scotia life, in this intimate drama about a young woman reassessing her relationship with her mother following the death of her father.

After his The Hanging Garden won the Best Canadian Feature Film at TIFF, acclaimed Halifax-based director Thom Fitzgerald went on to direct numerous features and television productions, including the award-winning The Wild Dogs and the global epic 3 Needles. His latest feature, Splinters, is a dysfunctional family drama about a young lesbian at odds with her traditional mother.

Belle has come home to rural Nova Scotia for her father’s funeral. She came out as a teenager but has never reconciled that fact with her conservative mother, Nancy. Amidst the family’s grief, Nancy’s disapproval of Belle hangs in the air like a dark cloud. Belle neglects to mention to her family that she has been dating a man named Rob for the past two years. She is reluctant to rekindle her mother’s traditional expectations of her and backpedal on hard-won battles to assert her identity. But the secret becomes harder to hide when Rob shows up to be the supportive boyfriend.

Based on the stage play by Lee-Anne Poole, Splinters is anchored by the rich and layered performances of Sofia Banzhaf and Shelley Thompson as two strong-willed women whose lives are upended when their routine deadlock is disrupted. The constriction of small-town mores is offset by the spacious, rolling rural landscapes of Nova Scotia in this beautifully realized portrait of a young woman’s complicated relationship with her family, her past, and her home.

Cast & Characters

Shelley Thompson as Nancy
Sofia Banzhaf as Belle
Gil Anderson as Clara
Charlie Boyle as Belle, younger
Daniel Lillford as Hemmingford
Ned the Dog as Willie
Hugh Thompson as Henry
Mary-Colin Chisholm as Wilma
Callum Dunphy as Rob
Bailey Maughan as Greg
Jennifer Overton as Maizie

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