Movie Review: Still The WaterDecember 21, 2020
Using beautiful Prince Edward Island as a backdrop to this family story, Still The Water takes us inside the MacAulay family dynamic, torn apart by a tragedy, and takes the viewer on an emotional journey that hits home for all those who have lost a loved one.
The movie introduces us to Jordie (Ry Barrett), booted from his hockey team for fighting and returns home, not to fall into the warm embrace of family but really, he has nowhere else to go. We immediately feel his struggles to find a place to fit in while trying to deal with a past that still haunts him.
His brother Nicky (Colin Price) is not much better off, living off the title of family favorite yet hiding a deep sense of anger, sadness, and regret. In fact, only the youngest brother Noah (Spencer Graham) seems to have it together, and his sense of humor is very welcome in a setting that is often very heavy in tone, emotion, and drama. Christina McInulty as Abby was wonderful here, stealing a lot of scenes and adding something almost every time she was on screen.
The setting of PEI was almost a character in itself, with some beautiful shots thrown in throughout the movie. Indeed, combined with the score, they made for a solid backdrop. There were times I found the score to go a bit over the top but overall it was more of a plus than a negative.
Writer/director Susan Rogers does a good job here, creating some real tension and family moments that don’t feel forced or over the top. There are some pacing issues at times, also some characters with some questionable dialogue or moments that just don’t work. However, these are few and far between as Rogers definitely understands what she wants and delivers more often than not.
The actors do a good job of creating an atmosphere of real tension and unresolved emotions, with Colin Price really shining, especially in the final act of the film. You feel like you are watching a real group of people, separated by emotions and distance, trying one last time to find a way to figure it all out. There are some very powerful scenes and some moments that make you feel for what they are going through.
A family tragedy, siblings are torn apart, struggle to come to terms with it and each other….these are familiar themes from many movies over the years. However, writer/director Susan Rogers manages for the most part to make Still The Water feel fresh, combining a stunning setting with some solid performances, creating a dynamic that will get you invested in the characters and pull on your heartstrings.
Four stars out of five