TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Kingsway’

TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Kingsway’

Kingsway is the kind of movie that would make audiences skeptical at first. It gets its name from an area in Vancouver that has its share of motels. Matt Horvath (Jeff Gladstone) happens to find his wife Lori’s (Colleen Rennison) bike in front of one of these motels. That discovery leads to Matt’s sister Jess (Camille Sullivan) and mother Mary (Gabrielle Rose) prying.

What ensues is what most movies about dysfunctional families do – constant bickering. Sullivan and Rose team up again as daughter and mother as they were in The Birdwatcher. They get to play feistier characters with their own lives. But there’s still something disappointing about their trajectories. This is especially true for Jess, who has her defense mechanisms only to wear her down.

Kingsway also relegates Jess and Mary as b-players. The movie instead makes the boring in comparison infidelity plot front and center. What saves this film nonetheless is its snappy dialogue and pace. The plot takes place in a year of these characters’ lives but it feels shorter. And everyone shows up for Matt when the film shows him to be at his worst.

And while Sweeney could have tweaked some aspects of these characters, others are just fine. There’s some great supporting work from Paul Skrudland, who plays Matt’s dopey best friend Sean. There’s also a general sense of these characters messing up while trying to fix each other’s problems. And the strong women and weak men who do it make for an interesting dynamic.

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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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