The Queen and I often talk about how, back in our high school days, the worst thing one could think of was staying home on a Saturday night. You know, if you didn’t have someplace to be, you just weren’t cool enough. But then, as you get older, you start to relish those evenings in. Without plans or having anyplace to be.
Try telling that to someone still in the thick of high school, still coming of age, and they’ll tell you you’re nuts. If they even deem to talk to you at all.
Growing up. It’s not easy. But in the right hands, it makes for a fun movie. Which is what Molly Maxwell is.
Written and directed by Sara St. Onge, Molly Maxwell stars Lola Tash as the title character, sixteen years old and attending an alternative school. Seemingly shiftless, Molly begins a tentative love affair with her English teacher, played with a refreshing lack of slime by Charlie Carrick. Consider this Lolita without…well, without an obsessive Humbert Humbert.
Filmed and set in Toronto, the 19th feature film to be developed, produced, and financed under CFC Features, an initiative of the Canadian Film Centre, Molly Maxwell rests on the shoulders of its young star and Lola Tash manages to deliver the goods. She’s incredibly compelling, able to be precocious one moment, sophisticated and alluring the next. But what makes her performance and the character so interesting is the lack of sexuality conveyed. Yes, she’s a beautiful young woman and there are moments of intimacy and romance, but Tash’s Molly is exploring and often uncomfortable. It’s a very believable performance and one courtesy of a clearly gifted actress. Expect more great things from Lola Tash (no pressure, Lola).
In fact, I enjoyed all the performances in Molly Maxwell. Though Tash and Carrick are the stars, supporting actors Krista Bridges, Rob Stewart and Richard Clarkin were all fun to watch when they showed up. It’s a great cast.
Currently playing at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto, Molly Maxwell is a film that’s a lot of fun, a teen picture with heart and soul and more intelligence than you’ll find in an episode of 90210, with excellent performances from all involved. Take someone to see it on a Saturday night.