The latest film from Canadian director Denis Côté, Curling, might bore many and look incomprehensible. However, it's only after you had seen the film that you realize how eloquent the film is with its moments of silence.
During the winter in a remote area of Quebec, we follow Jean-François Sauvageau (Emmanuel Bilodeau) and his 12-year-old daughter Julyvonne (Philomène Bilodeau) who both live in a country house on the edge of a highway. Jean-François is a maintenance clerk at a bowling club and a motel. He's overprotective to the point that he doesn't want his daughter to get out. Moreover, Julyvonne doesn't go to school.
Since he takes Julyvonne out once in a while, she begs him more and more to let go out. According to Julyvonne, this will allow her to play with kids of her age. When Jean-François isn't at home, Julyvonne decides to go out in the forest near her house. Moreover, Isabelle (Sophie Desmarais), Jean-François's new colleague in the bowling club, would like to play with Julyvonne more often.
As a former journalist/film critic, Denis Côté has no difficulty to build his lead. Right from the beginning, we get a glimpse of what's wrong with both Jean-François and Julyvonne. Unfortunately, one might believe that the film loses its steam in the second half. With a deliberately slow pace and a seemingly wooden performance by the cast, it's very tempting to write Curling off as an amateurish film. Moreover, Côté keeps us at an arm's length from the leading characters. This is because the film doesn't reveal enough information on Jean-François's fear of seeing his daughter being in contact with the outer world on a daily basis.
However, a well-peeled eye might be able to discern the sense of Curling. One day, we see Jean-François allows his daughter to go out and the other day, he asks her to stay at home for her well-being. Is he progressing or relapsing? The film doesn't offer a satisfying answer, but it's a touching and even funny film about the inner fight of Jean-François (a subtle Emmanuel Bilodeau) against his inner demons.
Finally, Curling might not win the Golden Reel Award, an award given by the Canadian Academy for the most profitable Canadian film at the box office. However, it will certainly please to a handful of patient movie lovers.
|Starring:||Emmanuel Bilodeau and Philomène Bilodeau|