Adapting Cea Sunrise Person’s beloved memoir for the big screen, Carly Stone (The New Romantic) brings both compassion and energy to this tale of a young woman’s bid to come of age while living with a mother experiencing arrested development.
Having spent her early years in a wilderness commune founded in the 1970s by her anti-establishment grandfather Dick (Robert Carlyle), Cea (initially River Price-Maenpaa, then Amanda Fix) is forced to shed her alternative upbringing and acclimatize to civilization when her mother, Michelle (Sarah Gadon), tires of Dick’s chauvinistic reign. Granted, this doesn’t keep Michelle from careening between bad romances as she and Cea carve out a nomadic existence.
Adorning every scene with enticing period details, Stone ensures that Gadon and Fix’s exceptional performances serve as her film’s foundation. Detailing the humour and heartbreak that come from family dysfunction, North of Normal derives engrossing drama from the difficult decisions these women must make to survive and thrive.
Q&A Oct 5
More Films in this Series
After some petty theft grants three queer adolescents admission to a Toronto gay club, they are left to confront dark consequences. Joseph Amenta’s debut feature is a love letter to friendships and a testament to the queer community’s perseverance.
In 1999, 11-year-old Nisha Platzer lost her brother, Josh, to suicide. Twenty years later, her search leads her to the door of Josh's chosen family. An eloquent collage that asserts that both grieving and healing are meant to be communal experiences.
Raising her son Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang, then Ethan Hwang) in Vancouver’s suburbs, So-young (Choi Seung-yoon), a South Korean immigrant, desperately wants to instill a sense of pride in the boy. Meanwhile, he just wants to fit in.
After losing his best friend Kyle in a tragic accident, Colton’s life is turned upside down when he uncovers a missing girl’s diary. A debut feature that's visually arresting, revealing an achingly tender side of adolescence.
Originally constructed around a copper mine, the once thriving company town of Anyox now boasts only two year-round residents. An immaculately crafted portrait of the damage wrought by the callousness of colonial ambition.
Set in 1980s Montréal, Rosie is a love letter to misfits and found families. When an English-speaking Indigenous orphan is deposited at the doorstep of her Francophone aunt, they must learn to find beauty and magic amidst their trying circumstances.
Miryam Charles’ haunting work examines the circumstances surrounding her cousin Tessa’s death, while speculating on the life that she might've had. A lyrical reminder of violence’s capacity to rupture reality and shake the foundations of family.
A Syrian doctor struggles to hold on to his identity as his family adjusts to life in Canada. Director Antoine Bourges (Fail to Appear) continues his social realist project, turning a lens this time to struggles faced by new immigrants to Canada.
Something You Said Last Night
Having already suffered the humiliation of losing her job, Ren must now endure a week of summer vacation with her overbearing parents and extroverted, overachieving younger sister. A disarmingly intimate debut feature by Luis de Filippis.
North of Normal
Having spent her early years in a wilderness commune founded by her anti-establishment grandfather, Cea must shed her alternative upbringing and acclimatize to civilization when her mother, Michelle, desires even greater freedom.
Until Branches Bend
Discovering a potentially invasive insect inside a peach, fruit packer Robin immediately reports it. When management refuses to take action, she goes public with her concerns and precipitates a widescale shutdown in her Okanagan town.
You Can Live Forever
Set in a Jehovah’s Witness congregation, the film follows queer teenager Jamie as she resists the tight community hold while falling in love with Marike, a charming young Witness tasked with welcoming Jamie into the fold.
Golden Delicious is a coming-of-age story about an Asian-Canadian teenager who is torn between his girlfriend’s dreams of their future and his father’s ambition, all the while struggling with finding himself and his feelings for the boy next door.
When Time Got Louder
Leaving home for university, Abbie (Willow Shields) thrives and experiences self-actualization. However, she’s tormented by the knowledge that her brother Kayden (Jonathan Simao), who has autism and is non-verbal, is reeling in her absence.
Joel Reilly, Patrick Patterson, Sarah Gadon, Rob Connolly, Michael Risley, Adrian Love, Noah Segal, Berry Meyerowitz, Jeff Sackman
Kyle Mann, Jonathan Bronfman
Carly Stone is a filmmaker from Toronto. She wrote and directed The New Romantic, which premiered in the Narrative Competition at SXSW 2018, where it won Special Jury Recognition for Best First Feature. She has also written on CBC’s award-winning comedy Kim’s Convenience. She graduated from the American Film Institute in 2014.
Filmography: The New Romantic (2018)