CIFF: Year of the Carnivore

By Sydney Stokoe

(The Globe, Wed., Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.)

The first feature length film from director Sook-Yin Lee, (Shortbus, CBC radio’s Definitely Not the Opera) Year of the Carnivore is a romp into the underbelly of love. The story deals unashamedly with sex and the institutionalization of love. It’s a formulaic romantic comedy — but with a few quirks — hitting the major signposts on its way to a sweet but predictable ending. The story does deviate from the traditional ideas of love and romance, offering a bit of an offbeat look at how people interact with each other.

The film follows Sammy (Cristin Miliott), a young woman unsure of herself in the modern world and her would-be boyfriend, a scruffy hipster musician named Eugene (Marle Rendall). Quite quickly it is realized that these two seemingly quaint and bohemian characters have some pretty serious demons to battle. After a failed one night stand, Sammy determines that she needs more sexual experience. Not love though, but rather gratuitous, self-indulgent sex. The film moves through her various stages of self-discovery, all the time questioning our modern interpretation of love. Is love possible? Is love necessary?

Maybe not the best movie for a first date, this decidedly unromantic love story brings to light some aspects of romance that we’d rather not think about. Lackluster marriages, deaths, the burden of new life and everything in between are used to explain how love is a hindrance to our lives.

While the dialogue itself is not laugh-out-loud hilarious, it makes light of the quirks of human nature. We are a strange species and this is one film that embraces the madness.

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