Falcon Lake – A Review
by Thom Ernst – Film Correspondent
(October 24, 2022 – Toronto, ON) Falcon Lake has its doppelgangers. It’s familiar as a coming-of-age story—one greatly served by the performances of its young actors. It plays initially as a formidable entry into the slice-of-life drama where routine interactions between people so comfortable with each other that they’re barely visible.
Those who know that Falcon Lake is based on the graphic novel Une Soeur by Bastien Vivès, know too that this is a ghost story—the kind of gothic ghost story that might make the rounds at cottages and campfires.
It’s all so pervasively seductive that by the film’s end we are left feeling that Falcon Lake is not just a story told, but a story unveiled.
Falcon Lake is the directorial debut of Canadian actor, Charlotte Le Bon. Initially, Le Bon seems content trailing through familiar territory, especially in Canadian dramas that make use of cottage lakes and small-town summer politics.
Bastion (Joseph Engel) is 13 years old. He’s quick to identify as a soon to be 14-year-old. Bastion is spending the summer with his family at a friend’s cottage. Bastion is on the cusp of an age where he’ll no longer want to be there. The film offers no firm evidence of this, but it feels like Bastion’s last summer at the lake. But he has an unexpected diversion towards the older, teenage daughter of their host.
The teenager, Clara (Sara Montpetit), is tuned out, preferring the company of a group of teenagers, mostly boys. Not long into their stay, Clara gravitates to Bastion, drawing him away from pestering his younger brother, Titi (Thomas Laperriere). An affection forms between the two (they even share a room). But young interests turn to subtle affections, which then turn to unspoken jealousies.
Le Bon keeps things muted, inviting us to have a closer look, to see and hear and touch the details.
And we don’t so much leave the theatre, as leave the film; left behind as though if we don’t latch on to the film’s final shot, there will be no other way out.
I might be angry with director Charlotte Le Bon for abandoning me in the gloom of a shadowy lake, trapped again in an adolescent angst I thought was under control. But I can’t be angry. Because Falcon Lake is a gift. And it’s a good one. I can’t say how the film might strike those younger than me, and I don’t know what Le Bon’s intent is; but for those looking back to see where time got away—it’s possible it still waits on Falcon Lake.
Directed by Charlotte Le Bon the film stars Sara Montpetit (Maria Chapdelaine), Joseph Engel, and Thomas Laperriere. Click here to watch the trailer and learn more about the cast and crew of Falcon Lake.
Images courtesy of Sphere Films.
Thom Ernst is a Toronto based film critic and writer and an active member of the (TFCA) Toronto Film Critics’ Association. His work has appeared in various publications including Playback Magazine, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. He is known to CBC Radio listeners for his lively contributions to Fresh Air, Metro Morning, and CBC Syndication as well as appearing on-air for CTV News Channel and The Agenda with Steve Paikin. He was host, interviewer and producer of televisions’ longest running movie program Saturday Night at the Movies. Currently he can be heard interviewing Canadian filmmakers on the Kingston Canadian Film Festival podcast, Rewind, Fast-Forward.