Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Grown Up Movie Star

(Canada, 2010)

Tatiana Maslany has mentioned in an interview somewhere that, aside from the delights of being able to play five major characters and a dozen minor ones in Orphan Black, another reason she was happy to take the job is that she would be playing adults. She has one of those faces, as well as the terrific acting talent, to pull off playing a child or adolescent well into her adulthood. She was twenty-five when she made this, playing a thirteen-year-old girl. We previously saw her in Dawn Anna, playing fifteen when she was actually twenty. I’m hoping that they will soon release Cas and Dylan on DVD. She co-stars with Richard Dreyfuss, and it was the last film she made before her breakout roles of Sarah/Allison/Cosima/Helena/Rachel et al. (She will be turning thirty in two months, on September 22, 2015.)

This was shot in the depressing little community of Flat Rock, Newfoundland. That is one of Canada’s bleak, remote Maritime provinces. Even though it’s no farther north than Seattle, it has the look of towns in Canada’s and Alaska’s far north. There is no architecture to speak of, just a lot of buildings that look pre-fab and totally dreary, scattered across the treeless, icy, rocky landscape. No possible reason to live there unless you’re a fisherman. A person with any ambition could go crazy in a place like that.

Ruby is such a person. Her father was once almost a hockey star, but got himself in trouble repeatedly. Their mother left them to pursue a career in Hollywood. Ruby is raising her eleven-year-old sister Rose almost by herself. She is old enough to be exploring her sexuality at every opportunity, but young enough to be excited by the prospect of a visit to Disneyland … which you know will never happen. Dad is also dealing with finally admitting to himself that he’s a homosexual. This doesn’t bother Ruby much, except for having been lied to about it. To complicate things, Dad shot his best friend Stuart in a “hunting accident” that sounds rather suspicious, leaving him a paraplegic and perpetually horny. When Stuart gets sexual with Rose, Dad almost kills him. The movie ends on a rather false note of hope. I think Ruby will be okay, she has enough chutzpah to overcome all this, though it will be tough.

The film opened at Sundance, where it got a lot of positive attention and won the Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance for Tatiana, who was also nominated for a Genie Award, Canada’s Oscar. So she and I have something in common. I was nominated, too! I have the certificate somewhere around here …