This is the second film I see at the Montreal's Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC). Once we get past the first half of Crackie, we get the feeling that it's interesting. In fact, Crackie is one of those rare films that deals with the inherent difficulties linked to life in a small town. Although the film might not win the Genie Award for best script, it would be a scandal if the cast's performance - especially Meghan Greeley's - is unnoticed.
Mitsy (Meghan Greeley), a girl from a small town of Newfoundland and Labrador, lives with her well-intentioned and oppressive grandmother, Bride (Mary Walsh), who earns a living as a whore. After all, ever since her childhood, Mitsy has been abandoned by her mom, Gwenny (Cheryl Wells), who only cares about drinking and sex. Besides, to top it all, Mitsy's mom lives in Alberta, a province from the Prairies. Therefore, in her daily life, Mitsy juggles with her studies in hairdressing, her attempt to take care of her puppy Sparky and her sexual relation with Duffy (Joel Thomas Hynes), a bad boy who works at the local take-out restaurant.
Just to get straight to the point, Crackie belongs to the huge repertoire of Canadian realism just like Tout est parfait (Everything Is Fine), a film that follows a teenager from a suburb of Montreal. Honestly, many might not love the former as much as the latter. As matter of fact, in the first half, Crackie's script keeps us at arm's length while its pace is okay. Furthermore, I felt that during the first half, I was following the daily life of a girl (i.e. Mitsy) who keeps everything for her, which made it hard for me to feel invested in the film.
However, in the end, patience is the best policy to adopt when you watch this film. Indeed, when Mitsy's mom, who's back from Alberta, is looking for a place to crash in the town, things get much more gripping in the second half. In fact, not only this is the moment when the cast - especially newcomer Meghan Greeley - takes its precise performance to a higher level, but it's also the moment when we see how life is complicated for the movie's heroine (which is the movie's premise) until the unpredictable end. All in all, while Mitsy's life at school still goes on, it's in the second half that we get to see who (between Bride, Duffy and her mom) Mitsy will value and, on the other hand, who really cares about her.
Finally, Crackie, which comes with its flaws, is a humane tale about solitude and relation. As the film implies, when life seems really hard, one of the most important things we have left is someone who cares for us (and vice versa). Of course, I concede that the film is not entertaining, but if drama is your cup of tea, then go for it.
Mary Walsh, Meghan Greeley, Cheryl Wells, Joel Thomas Hynes and Kristin Booth