Film review: Woman in Car offers little else

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Written by Publishing team

Chilly and intense Canadian thriller feels like it came from another time

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Woman in Car plays like a throwback to Canadian art house cinema of the ’80s, and not in a good way. Back then, deserved or not, our nation’s films were seen as chilly, emotionally repressed and needlessly dark.

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Enter Woman in Car, which features one messed-up family. Helen Joy (Murdoch Mysteries) stars as Anne, a Montreal housewife on her second marriage, her first husband having died under circumstances no one wants to talk about openly.

Add to these problematic nuptials an awkward reunion with her stepson (Aiden Ritchie) and an introduction to his girlfriend, Safiye (Liane Balaban). It’s awkward for the viewer as well – both actresses are just over 40, and Ritchie doesn’t look much younger. The family math doesn’t mesh.

But maybe that helps explain why Anne becomes obsessed with Safiye, following her to the cinema and later to her work. Anne is proud in this pursuit, and in everything she does. She shoots intensely. (She was almost an Olympic archer, a sad descriptor if ever there was one.) She skins the rabbit she shot intensely. She converses intensely, often using as few words as possible. She even bathes intensely.

And she will make her way to the end of writer/director Vanya Rose’s debut feature film intensely. It’s a messy conclusion, full of dark secrets and inappropriate feelings and anger, not so much undeserved as unwanted. On the plus side, there are several important scenes that feature a woman in a car. No faulting it there.

Woman in Car opens March 11 in Toronto and Windsor, March 18 in Oakville, and March 22 on demand.

2 stars out of 5

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