There are different ways to deal with loss, everyone knows that. But to its credit, Derive aims for specificity. After fifteen year old Oceane Beauregard’s (Eleonore Loiselle) father Andre (Real Bosse) dies, she crashes viewings at funeral parlors. And in one of them, she eventually introduces herself to the actor she’s stalking, Felix Lafrance (Emmanuel Schwartz). Her younger sister Marine (Maeva Tremblay) develops a murky friendship with Amelie (Emilie Bierre). She’s the kind of girl who leads her friends to alcoholism and worse things. And their mother Catherine (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin) is oblivious as to what is happening to her own daughters.
Derive sells itself on the premise of clueless these girls and women can be without their paternal figure. Passivity is an inherent quality in Canadian fictional works, but it’s problematic here. That’s specifically true when we see flashbacks of Andre. Sure, director David Uloth portrays these moments with an impressionistic beauty. Of course, he frames these flashbacks as part of Marine’s memories. This plays into the absurd idea that she still thinks Andre is alive. But this making him the root of the unraveling of these girls and women. And this feels too obvious for this film.
It’s understandable how messy lives are and how real life people get into cycles before they get out of them. Like Oceane returning to Felix. Or a thing that Derive teases that may or may not happen to Marine, or Catherine’s job interviews. Catherine isn’t good at reading her workplace environments, which makes her both unwatchable and relatable. And thankfully, later on, she stops before fully sabotaging herself. But some of those later scenes read, again, like a deus ex machina. This again reflects on how these easy endings awkwardly contrast with the realism of the film’s first two acts.
For more information on Derive go to https://www.cinefranco.com/derive