Wednesday, 21 May 2014

GOOD PLACE - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Funny, moving short by one of Canada's most talented female directors, plays the Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival program "Lesbian Shorts:Bound (By Love)"

When we look to the sky we look for answers.
Dyan Bell and Seamus Morrison in Gina Bucci's GOOD PLACE

Baby Brother, Big Sister
in the SUBURBS
Good Place (2014) Dir. Gina Bucci ****
Starring: Dyan Bell, Seamus Morrison, Alisen Down
Review By Greg Klymkiw

There are people in our lives who are linked to us so inextricably that even though we haven't seen them for awhile, their appearance is enough to bring us back to what made them special in the first place. No matter how unexpected their materialization in our world might be, the feelings they engender always seem just like yesterday. Such is the case with Connie (Dyan Bell) in Gina Bucci's gem of a short film Good Place. Things are rocky and uncertain in her relationship with Beth (Alisen Down), exemplified quite clearly one morning when some pre-nine-to-five nookie takes a back seat to affairs of the career rather than affairs of the heart. Connie is left alone with an empty house when Beth decides to sneak off to work. Rather than facing the day, Connie crawls under the blankets, but her comfy ostrich head in the sand is short-lived when the door bell rings and an unexpected visitor enters back into her life.

Reunited with her little brother Joey (Seamus Morrison), Connie dives into a whole lotta fun. The twenty-something siblings regress ever-so delightfully into childhood and soon, whatever weight is on Connie's shoulders is lifted by her baby brother's good humour, cheer and love. Though everything feels like it's back to normal, a cloud seems to hang over the events of the day, a nagging sense that the freewheeling warmth rooted in a lifetime of a big sister's love for her baby brother, can't possibly last forever.

After a day of childlike sibling shenanigans, brother and sister soon find themselves under a night sky. The limitless possibilities inherent in a universe dwarfs them and yet envelopes them in the warmth of belonging to something much larger. Life and love puts both of them in a good place and as long as faith and love remain strong, the possibilities seem limitless.

Like the best short films, Good Place offers us a simple situation, a slice of a life that acts macrocosmically for the characters involved and, in a sense, provides thoughts and feelings familiar to us while also letting us make them our own and take from them what we will and must. Bell and Morrison deliver memorable and naturalistic performances - fresh, attractive and altogether winning. Bucci's direction is assured and the film is deftly cut by Tiffany Beaudin. Visually arresting without overt flash, Director of Photography Sue Johnson tricks us into thinking she's shot the picture with yeoman rigour, but that's the clever deception. It doesn't bring unwarranted attention to itself and we're almost never aware of just how indelible the images are, serving the natural rhythm of the dramatic action. And then, we're treated to a load of chocolate fudge syrup on the ice cream and Good Place delivers a few final shots that sweep us off our feet until one simple, slow upward tilt completely takes our breath away.

It's a sweet, lovely, mystical and even phantasmagorical little picture that continues to solidify Bucci as a genuine force to be reckoned worth in Canadian Cinema. Ever since seeing one of her first short films, the original and profoundly moving A Quiet Little Riot, I've been looking forward to each new work by Bucci with baited breath.

Someone please give this lady some money to make a feature. It'll pay off in spades.

Good Place is part of a program of short films at the Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. The series is entitled LESBIAN SHORTS: BOUND (BY LOVE) and in addition to Good Place, it features Dream Date, Dyke Central: Taboo, Neighbours, Anti-Aging Ema and Curtains. For more information, visit the festival website HERE.

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Full Disclosure:
I've followed Bucci's career avidly for many years.
I'm credited on this film as a Story Consultant.
It's what I do, though.