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SIFF ADVANCE: Weirdos - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
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cinema_holic
SIFF ADVANCE: Weirdos
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Directing: B
Acting: B
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B


Weirdos could have beautiful in more ways than one, rather than the merely pleasant movie that it is. On a literal, visual level, the choice of black and white photography is somewhat mystifying. Between the color palette of 1976 and of the east coast of Canada, it could have been a feast for the eyes. Was director Bruce McDonald simply trying to make this movie look more "arty"? I can't think of any other sensible reason for making that choice. There are indeed plenty of beautiful Canadian vistas featured on the screen. Why not present them in full color?

Maybe to convey the sense of passed time? Except, of course, movies (and pictures) had been in color a long time by 1976. And, to be fair, the script for Weirdos may be flawed, but it still has depth. It just doesn't all come together quiet as well as it should.

Here we have fifteen-year-old couple Kit (Dylan Authors) and Alice (Julia Sarah Stone), each telling their respective parents they are staying overnight at the other's house, and then hitchhiking their way to Kit's mother's house. Along the way, Kit confesses he is gay. This is hardly a spoiler; the opening scene has him pointedly revering his poster of Elton John. Kit has other things to contend with: a father he thinks is homophobic; a mother with mental health issues; a girlfriend who can never really be his girlfriend.

There's a lot to unpack here, and Weirdos doesn't unpack much of it. The title itself is a reference to the euphemistic word replacement for "gay," with clearly negative connotations. For the most part, though, Kit actually finds himself surrounded by people who support him, whether he realizes it or not. The rather simple plot focuses on the travel to Kit's mother's house, with the sporadic appearance of Andy Warhol (Rhys Bevan-John) as though Kit's imaginary friend -- or his "spirit animal," as Andy Warhol himself says it.

The quality of performances is unusually varied in this movie. Both Dylan Authors and Julia Sarah Stone seem slightly self-conscious onscreen, stripping them of credibility to at least a slight degree. Their lines are delivered in a barely stunted manner, so their interactions often don't quite ring true. It feels like they could both be skilled actors, but they need a bit more training. Rhys Bevan-John as Andy Warhol is both understated and arguably the most amusing thing in the movie. Molly Parker, as Kit's mother, gives a memorably impressive performance, and it's almost too bad it should get lost in a movie so few people are ever going to see.

Weirdos makes an unusual achievement in being truly its own thing, telling a story on its own terms, generally avoiding any of the typical cinematic cliches, particularly with a story about a kid coming to terms with his sexuality. It's the kind of movie that finds plenty of love at film festivals but is destined to fade into obscurity.

Dylan Authors and Julia Sarah Stone aren't quite the WEIRDOS they think they are.


Overall: B
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