by Matt Levine
Great coming-of-age movies make us feel the wistful beauty of youth, its sense of invincibility and vulnerability at once. Bad coming-of-age movies make us grateful we’ve matured past such a banal, self-obsessed period of our lives. Sadly, Sleeping Giant fits into the latter category. This Canadian film has won a handful of festival awards, but it’s hard to see why; the ensemble (both young and old) contributes grating, unsubtle performances, and writer-director Andrew Cividino (extending his own 2014 short film) doesn’t know how or when to rein in their performances for the sake of something more visual and mysterious. The actors were encouraged to improvise heavily, but in this case that results more in overstated theatrics than unflinching honesty.
Sunday, April 17, 8:50 pm
Saturday, April 23, 9:55 pm
Director: Andrew Cividino
Writers: Andrew Cividino
Cinematographer: James Klopko
Editor: James Vandewater
Music: Chris Thornborrow, Bruce Peninsula
Cast: Jackson Martin, Reece Moffett, Nick Serino, David Disher, Erika Brodzky, Katelyn McKerracher, Rita Serino, Lorraine Philp, Kyle Bertrand
Even worse: the story is a familiar war of masculinity, sexual jealousy, and infidelity, with each extramarital affair and friend-on-friend backstabbing ultimately conveying the musty air of cliché more than anything else. Maybe we’ve been spoiled: with such excellent youth-centered films as Boyhood, Girlhood, and the upcoming Take Me to the River and My Golden Days, coming-of-age movies can no longer be content with stale dramatic contrivances. And unfortunately, besides its Lake Superior scenery, that’s all Sleeping Giant has to offer.