Filed under: Reviews
The beginning steps of the storyline present us with the blossoming of a special day – a day wrapped in the anticipated service of union for Grant (Mark Hildreth – Taken, Past Perfect) and Ryan (Matt Fentiman – Spook, For My Father), a same-sex couple who have to contend with the menu of family drama that is served alongside their own opposing views of matrimony. The opening scene rises, with Ryan in a place of quiet solitude, undressed from a heavy robe. Planted naked amidst a vibrant green landscape and meditating, Ryan offers the audience a moment to take a fresh breath before the festivities, like the calm before the storm. Grant slices the silence with a reminder that it is time to adhere to the schedule and the gay couple prepare for the chaos that is to be their unforgettable wedding day.
All the guests organize themselves for the big day and we are introduced to friends and family alike. Going down the list, Ryan's Mother Rebecca (Katherine Billings – Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael) is overly enthusiastic and insists on decorating the house despite the hesitations expressed by the couple set to go down the aisle. Brother Gale (Michael Chase – The Freelancer, Pits) is constantly laced with anxiety over his acting career and his wife Trish (Susanne Hepburn – No Night is Too Long, They), who is also an actor, has to fend off accusations that her fight with bulimia is still causing her trips to the bathroom – or is the nausea the effects of something she has yet to reveal? Ryan's other brother Luke (Stephen Park – Connie and Carla, The Other Woman) is quite adamant about having children with wife Rachel (Cara McDowell – feature film debut) who is taking the heat for their problem with pregnancy, although there may be more to the lack of conception than she is willing to tell. Grant's longtime friend Madeline (Nancy Sivak – The Life, Little Brother of War) also has secrets from husband Shep (Bill Marchant – Stargate: SG-1), a grief-stricken neurologist who is drawn to the drink. Grant's brother Kalvin (Andrew Moxham – feature film debut) is a broke landscape artist mourning the death of his firstborn child with his girlfriend Jenny (Anna Williams – feature film debut). Tormented by the loss, the stoner couple spend their time playing video games and getting high. Along the way, we are also introduced to a directionally-challenged Roger (Tom Scholte – Live Bait, Dirty), a homeless bench occupant Dylan (Brendan Fletcher – The Five Senses, Freddy vs. Jason), a Lay Chaplain named Betty (Debra Thorne – feature film debut), and Rena, an overzealous bartender who speaks her mind (Carly Pope – Disturbing Behaviour, Popular). As the day continues to age, and the people unravel at the seams, there is a lot to be learned about everyone.
Bill Marchant's film, Everyone, poses the question of what the definition of love truly is and provokes you to ride your own perspective like an undercurrent throughout the film. It challenges you to be open and it makes you laugh stemming from simply being a reflection of human nature. It acknowledges the intricate battles within relationships, highlighting the ongoing struggle of weighing compromise and the friction between being selfish vs. selfless. Such a recipe is continuously colliding with a brewing desire for honesty and personal happiness. As the dark comedy progresses, you begin to clearly understand the pure organic mould that is this family tree. At times it seems like pure-organic-insanity mind you, but as an audience we get to play a role in the sufferings conquered and the triumphs endured. In the pursuit to survive the day, each couple is forced to reflect on the status of their relationships and their independent dilemmas. The strength of this film is in the brilliant range of characters and the gradual exposure of their individual weight of emotions and turmoil.
It is so cleverly written, with a non-stop flow of neurotic rampages inflaming a comedic wave of anxiety. The events that unfold affect the audience like a vicious bumper car session as the countdown continues. Although the forward motion compels you to engage in the fast-paced race for the altar, it contrasts nicely with a united sense of stillness during the introduction and the conclusion of the film. Opening with the soothing sense of morning air and calm meditation, the ending develops a symbolic collage of the day's events resolving; or not? It is a delightfully tasteful film exploiting family dynamic and the pressures lingering the existence of relationships.
"I've been an actor in Vancouver for 15 years, I get heart sick at the parts that these people get offered and how they get displayed as guest starts in American productions. These people are movie stars and not in the sense that they need trailers or their toes done, they are movie stars in the sense that they truly give a f*** about art and that is why they are on screen." says Marchant. Everyone, which won the Golden Zenith Award for "Best Canadian Film" at the Montreal Film Festival, is ready to set sail towards the Paris International Film Festival, Hollywood Film Festival, the Florida International Film Festival, and the list continues. "Again, this film was literally made for nothing but love, we paid for catering and a little bit of stock. The rest of it was all just these people's passion for their art, so they were immediately family. I think these people were just friends from the word go – if there is chemistry on the screen, it is because I was blessed with amazing, amazing actors."
This courageous independent film serves to entertain, but also to entice the audience to laugh about commitment and the frustrations it attracts. It is an experience that will definitely plant reminders of humanity and what the obstacles and triumphs of love are.
Everyone is screening as part of the travelling film festival Moving Pictures: Canadian Films on Tour. Screenings are taking place from March 16th to 22nd at Tinseltown Theatre, 88 West Pender Street, Vancouver. Everyone is showing on Monday, March 21st @ 7:00pm.
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