FILM: Only

JACOB SWITZER (Daniel) and ELENA HUDGINS LYLE (Vera) at the Ruins. Photo Credit: Ian Anderson

If you’re looking for 74 minutes of bleak backwater Canadian towns, bored children walking endlessly through snow, and just a touch of romance check out Only, the 2008 critically acclaimed Canadian film that made its way into MoMA’s Canadian Film Festival this March. Of course, if you’re looking for plot, substantial character development, and entertainment, you might want to skip the only thing that’s made curling seem exciting in comparison.

The 2008 no-budget film from pUNK Films, directed and acted in by Simon Reynolds and Ingrid Veninger, is what seems to be an accurate portrayal of the boredom that accompanies living in the boondocks of Ontario, as seen through the life of two pre-teens Daniel and Vera (played by Jacob Switzer and Elena Hudgins Lyle). The main problem with portraying the stagnant life of rural Canada is that its, well… boring.

Daniel, the slightly delinquent son of motel owners witnesses Vera’s family breakdown and sees Vera storm off to the pool. He thinks she’s cute, and follows, only to find a possibly-drowned 13-year-old girl, who he proceeds to save by throwing a life preserver at her. Turns out, Vera suffers from narcolepsy and a slew of problems, not the least of which is her terrible home life. The two spend the afternoon together before Vera moves on to wherever it is in that vast country her family is moving.

The plot is really just flat, and totally lacks any dramatic arc. The one moment at the end when you expect a climactic passionate kiss or some hugely romantic gesture gets deflated when Vera gives Daniel her number and a peck on the lips. Mostly the movie is just the two walking… and walking… and walking…

The one redeeming factor is the soundtrack. The music sort of keeps the movie rolling, and it’s a nice little dose of Canadian Indie rock to balance out the boring movie. Thank god it was Only 74 minutes.

Jesse Leon

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