|The babe suffers, but NOT in silence. Ain't it always the way?|
Bickford Park (2017)
Dir. Dane Clark, Linsey Stewart
Starring: Lianne Balaban
Review By Greg Klymkiw
So you've had to suffer through listening to your long-haired loser husband tinkling the ivories in the basement as he caterwauls his way through a contemptibly worthless tune he's composed and now, after a long day at work, you're sitting in your car reading a book, conveniently avoiding home.
The phone rings.
It's hubby. He wants you to pick something up on your way back. Uh, what's he been doing all day? He delivers the expected answer.
"I meant to go out, but I got pretty deep into it today."
Trying to imagine what bottomless chasm of talent-bereft hack-dom he'd plunged into fills you, no doubt, with utter dread.
Such is the current lot in life for Jill (Lianne Balaban), a bright gorgeous thirty-something who spends her evenings jogging the streets as far away from hearth, home and hubby as possible. One evening during a restorative sojourn in sneakers and shorts, she spies a lone skateboard. It beckons. She gets on board. Her attempt is shaky, and perhaps even more so when the owner of the board, a hunky dude at least ten years her junior, claims it as his own and asks for its return.
This delightful new form of physical activity (and escape from the emptiness of domesticity) sends her straight to a sporting goods store. It doesn't take long before she return to the park to try out her new skateboard. Happily, the hunky dude shows up.
The lessons begin - a pas de deux on wheels. What sparks will fly? Is romance in the air? Watching Bickford Park, one certainly hopes so. Smartly, directors Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart don't take any expected turns. There's a reason why they chosen to film in monochrome - shades of grey are always more interesting.
Their film is sweet and enchanting but ultimately infused with melancholy. We want to spend a lot more time with its characters, we want to see it play out well beyond its running time, we get expected delights to be sure, but it's the unexpected hands we're dealt that offer the kind of layers of complexity that send us out of the theatre with so much more than the by-rote fodder most contemporary romantic comedies pass off as clever.
Bickford Park delivers something far richer.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** 4-Stars
Bickford Park plays at TIFF 2017