Film Scoop: Simple Curve simply good

By Rachel Betts-Wilmott

Be sure to sneak up on the rhinoceros from behind so that it can’t gore you when it wakes up and tries to gore you.”

Parents are full of little pearls of wisdom like this as they guide their offspring towards maturity. However there comes a time in every child’s life when one has to evaluate their parents and determine whether they’re full of shit. At this point, one is able to free themselves from childhood.

“You have to find your own way,” explains A Simple Curve producer George Baptist. “And this is harder for Caleb because his parents have always considered him an equal and always been very liberal with him.”

The emancipation of Caleb (Kris Lemche)–who must find a way to rebel against his utterly open and allowing father–which spins the story of A Simple Curve, a creation of writer-director Aubrey Nealon. As a 27-year-old living at home in the Kootenays with his widower, ultra-hippie father Jim (Michael Hogan), Caleb finds it harder and harder to cope with his father’s refusal to accept the world in all its capitalist glory and their livelihood is endangered by Jim’s refusal to compromise. It all leaves Caleb wondering where he belongs and how he can get there. Meanwhile new people arrive in town, representing all kinds of past lives: two modern hippies, the spitting image of Caleb’s parents, a single mother he wants and more importantly his parents’ draft-dodger best friend and sometimes lover.

Although the secondary characters, portrayed admirably by a varied cast, advance Caleb’s own story they do not appear to have a life of their own. The irksome feeling that as soon as they are out of the shot they fade away until the camera returns to them lingers throughout the film. It leaves the story feeling a little flat and suggests the deep self-centeredness of Caleb. However Matt Craven, who plays the old family friend, gives his character life and history, admittedly making use of a strong script. While Sarah Lind and Kett Turton also make the most out of small but symbolic roles as Erika and Buck, the transient hippie couple who pitch their teepee in Caleb and Jim’s field.

The strongest supporting cast member of all is the setting. The Kootenays provide the perfect background for Lemche’s portrayal of Caleb. The mountains play a part in the lives of the townspeople, the sky and the lake imprisons visitors and inhabitants alike.

“What impressed me most about the movie was how authentic the story was for the place,” explains Baptist. “Considering we only shot for 20 days, it really feels like we captured the place and the people of it. It was important because the location is so fundamental to the story.”

A Simple Curve is a Canadian coming of age story, told for a Canadian audience who received Canadian parental advice on how to avoid rhinos.

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