Canadian Film Fest 2018: Our Review of ‘Room For Rent’

Posted in Canadian Film Fest 2018, Movies by - March 23, 2018
Canadian Film Fest 2018: Our Review of ‘Room For Rent’

Writer-director Matthew Atkinson’s second feature is about a man child who still lives at home. I mean, same. Sure, Atkinson provides twists to this trope but it’s still springing from the same root. It doesn’t help that the said twists come off as contrivances. And somehow the plot isn’t imaginative in the slightest. I’ve seen this story done slightly better in two other Canadian productions I’ve seen during the past two months. There are talented Canadian filmmakers waiting for a bigger break. And the ones who get those chances are people who rely on the same writing prompt. Anyway, the man child is Mitch Baldwin (Mark Little). He won the lottery at seventeen and squandered it by hogging as many ridiculous patents as possible. Money is tight now, especially since his father Warren (Mark McKinney) lost his job before he could retire. And it’s not like he’s getting a job.

Mitch’s solution, then, is to rent out one of their home’s rooms. Seconds after he plastered that makeshift poster advertising the room, Carl LeMay (Brett Gelman) appears. We all know where this is going – Carl’s presence disrupts an equilibrium than Mitch will struggle to reinforce. The movie does something surprising in that Carl charms his way both into Warren’s heart and the audience’s. He does this, however, in Mitch’s expense, and the writing doesn’t give us anything to sympathize with the latter. All of this is happening in a house that’s hilariously surreal in its throwback aesthetic. The wallpaper dates itself the same way as the Baldwins do. This is especially true for Mitch’s mother Betty (Stephnie Weir). She dies inside slowly every time she has to clean up after her son. The cast is game for the concept. I just wish Canadian cinema had other stories to tell.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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