90 minutes – Drama
Festival release date: September 11, 2022 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Release date: July 28, 2023
Production companies: Independent Edge Films, JoBro Productions, Undisputed Pictures
Canadian distributor: Elevation Pictures
Based on the 2014 memoir of the same name by Cea Sunrise Person, North of Normal centres on Cea Sunrise Person (Amanda Fix) at 14-years-old who, after six years spent in the Yukon wilderness with her grandparents, reunites with her mother, Michelle (Sarah Gadon), in North Bay, Ontario. It’s not only Cea’s first time living in a city, but her first time living alone with her mom, without any terrible boyfriends getting in the way. It’s what Cea has always wanted. But when Michelle starts dating her married boss, Cea realizes that even though the surroundings are different, not much has changed. When she learns about a model search, which would send the winner to Paris with promises of a glamorous career, she decides to audition. Michelle is dismissive; modeling represents everything their counterculture family hates about modern society. But Cea sees it as a lifeline; an opportunity to provide for her mom, so she doesn’t need to rely on any more unreliable men. But Cea loses the contest and her disappointment is compounded when she learns that even if she had won, her mother wasn’t planning to go with her, choosing instead to stay behind with her boyfriend. Realizing her mother is never going to change, Cea decides to become the self-sufficient woman she wishes her mom could be.