TIFF 2016: Our Review of ‘Mean Dreams’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2016 by - September 11, 2016
TIFF 2016: Our Review of ‘Mean Dreams’

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After a sudden, stressful chase from the law and sure punishment, one of two exasperated, lovelorn teens has a moment of clarity. He suggests they rethink their plan.

That’s because Jonas (Josh Wiggins) and Casey (Sophie Nélisse) don’t really have any plan. He’s helped her escape an abusive father, but the father is a new police officer in the their small town, and Jonas just saw him deal drugs, sell money, and kill some people. So they’re a bit over their head.

The comment Jonas makes is a curious one: it’s funny but true, and emphasized how rapidly Mean Dreams has gotten out of control. I suppose the theatrics, the outrageous tension that is created – mostly earned – is symbolic of teenage love. After all, Casey, who is new to the area, has become smitten with Jonas, her handy and handsome farmer next door.

This Canadian drama from Nathan Morlando, with thrilling bits and pieces sprinkled throughout, is tense and heartwarming, provided you’re willing to buy into the conceit. Set up as a star-crossed lovers harrowing adventure, because we’re watching events unfold alongside these two youngsters, the drama that takes place seems a bit more believable.

For his part, Bill Paxton delivers a reliably seedy performance as Casey’s father, a man who in his first scene will raise some red flags, even if you go into this film with no idea of the premise.

Still, it’s a platform for two young actors, and their talent and charm make this ride worthy.

 

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