101 minutes – Drama
Release date: November 14, 2003
Canadian distributor: Seville Pictures
Based on the Barbara Gowdy novel, Falling Angels is set in 1969, when trying to survive adolescence became a real struggle for independence, while LSD, swinging sex and wood panelling abounded. In short, this film is another “coming-of-age” story, but this time the emphasis is on the detrimental effects of silence. The family we get to meet are The Fields. Jim Field, played by Callum Keith Rennie runs the household with tyrannical military precision while Mom, Miranda Richardson, lies impassively on the living room couch, debilitated by depression and the ever-present coffee cup full of booze. There is a fragile domestic peace, but it is torn apart by a secret the parents will not face: the suspicious death of their first-born son. As they struggle under the weight of his absence, each of their three teenage daughters, Lou, Sandy and Norma, tries to escape her home life in her own way. Eldest daughter Norma (Monté Gagné) acts as surrogate mother to all, while rebellious Lou (Katharine Isabelle) experiments with boys and acid, and cherubic Sandy (Kristin Adams) cavorts with a married shoe salesman, perfectly played by Mark McKinney. It is the end of a decade and, as the song promised, the times were a changin’. Authority is being challenged and the traditional Father Knows Best way of running a home is falling by the wayside. Meanwhile, the sisters need to discover who they are and how to break free but are tied to the family out of duty and concern for their mother. In case all of this sounds way too serious, the movie is in fact a comedy. But a very dark one.