TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Splinters’

TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Splinters’

A director who is able to tell big stories, writer-director Thom Fitzgerald goes back to small ones in Splinters. Here we have a Nova Scotia family with an apple orchard dealing with the death of their patriarch. He left behind an adult daughter, Belle (Sofia Banzhaf), who returns home to a female ex. She is also hiding a boyfriend, Rob (Callum Dunphy) from her homophobic mother Nancy (Shelley Thompson).

There’s also Greg (Bailey Maughan), who is not homophobic but his character has not discernible qualities. Blame the writing, whether it’s from Lee-Ann Poole’s original play or Fitzgerald’s adaptation of it. Fitzgerald also confines the drama literally in front of the kitchen sink. This is a dangerous thing to do if he wanted to spice things up.

There are a few things of visual interest here which would be great but they feel out of place. To paraphrase Alexandra West, it’s showing a lot of male underwear for a movie about a man’s funeral. There’s even a butt shot of Greg because he apparently keeps the bath curtains open for his sister’s friend. Eventually, Greg and Rob puts some clothes on for the wake, a disaster that seems like it came from a cartoon.

Which brings me back to Greg. Equal opportunity nudity is always nice, and so are male characters who support their female counterparts instead of the other way around. But his lines feel Mindy-esque. There are some intimate moments of silence but they’re too few and far between.

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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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