Movie Review: Woman in Car Offers Nothing Else

A cold and intense Canadian thriller that seems to come from another time

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woman in car plays like a throwback to 80s Canadian art house cinema, and not in a good way. At the time, deserved or not, our country’s films were considered cold, emotionally suppressed and unnecessarily dark.

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Enter woman in car, which features a messed up family. Helen Joy (Murdoch Mysteries) plays Anne, a Montreal housewife in her second marriage, her first husband having died in circumstances that no one wants to talk about openly.

Add to these problematic nuptials an awkward reunion with his stepson (Aiden Ritchie) and an introduction to his girlfriend, Safiye (Liane Balaban). It’s also awkward for the viewer – both actresses are just over 40 and Ritchie doesn’t look much younger. The family math doesn’t add up.

But perhaps that helps explain why Anne becomes obsessed with Safiye, following her to movies and later to her job. Anne is fierce in this pursuit, and in everything she does. She shoots intensely. (She was almost an Olympic archer, a sad description if there ever was one.) She intensely skins the rabbit she is shooting. She converses intensely, often using as few words as possible. She even bathes intensely.

And she’ll go intensely at the end of writer/director Vanya Rose’s feature debut. It’s a messy conclusion, full of dark secrets and inappropriate feelings and anger, not so much undeserved as unwanted. On the plus side, there are several prominent scenes that feature a woman in a car. No fault there.

Woman in Car opens March 11 in Toronto and Windsor, March 18 in Oakville and March 22 on demand.

2 out of 5 stars

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