105 Minutes – Drama
Festival release date: September 9, 1980 (Festival of Festivals, Toronto)
Release date: September 18, 1981 (Finland)
Production company: RSL Films
U.S. distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Suzanne is based on the book Snowlark by co-screenwriter Ronald Sutherland. It is set in a working-glass area of Montréal in the early 1950s. In an attempt to escape the endless reality of endless poverty, a young girl (Jennifer Dale), the title character, finds that she is endlessly attracted to men. She is used by them and then abandoned. Now pregnant as a result of one such brief encounter with a petty criminal, Suzanne gets involved with and marries a man she does not love so that her child will have a home and father.
Suzanne had its premiere screening at the 1980 Festival of Festivals in Toronto. It was re-edited and a shorter version was ultimately released to wildly divergent reviews. Some rhapsodized saying it was “robustly played and forcefully told, it is poignant without false emotion,” while others wrote, “the initial premises or concerns become trivialized by heavy, stock type melodramatizlng. So much so that by the end of the film we are immersed in a kind of turgid, ungenteel Harlequin Romance.”
Winston Rekert made his feature film debut in Suzanne, while it was Jennifer Dale’s first big starring vehicle.
The poster for Suzanne was scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.