Autumn 2012 Features series
November 18, 2012 at 7:00pm
November 18, 2012 at 4:00pm
Directed by Thom Fitzgerald
Screenplay by Thom Fitzgerald
Based on the play by Thom Fitzgerald
Starring Brenda Fricker, Ryan Doucette, Olympia Dukakis and Kristin Booth
Rated NR ·
A romantic road movie written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald, Cloudburst was filmed in a variety of locations throughout Nova Scotia, including Blomidon. It stars Oscar-winning actresses Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias) and Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot, The War Bride, Alfred Nobbs) as Stella and Dot, an aging couple who escape from a nursing home in Maine and drive to Nova Scotia on a quest to be legally married.
Stella and Dot have been together for 31 years and have faithfully accompanied one another through life’s ups and downs. Now in their seventies, Stella is hard of hearing and Dot is legally blind. Dotty’s prudish granddaughter, Molly (Kristin Booth), decides the best place for Dot is a nursing home that will provide all the necessities. This forces Stella and Dot to make a bold decision: they will leave their hometown and make their way to Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal. It is a last-gap bid to stay together.
En route to Canada, they pick up a young hitchhiker, Prentice, played by newcomer Ryan Doucette. A small-town boy turned modern dancer, he is returning to Nova Scotia to visit his dying mother. Despite his bravado, Prentice is a confused and wounded soul who has much to learn from Stella and Dot as they wage their own unexpected battle—–after three decades, can they keep their family together?
With equal parts humour and grace, Cloudburst explores the important themes of life, death and love through the eyes of this oddball trio.
Thom Fitzgerald (The Hanging Garden) originally staged Cloudburst as a play in April 2010, at Plutonium Playhouse in Halifax. It won the 2011 Merritt Award for Best New Play.
The film is not just laugh out loud funny, it’s pee your pants funny… the audience was in stitches from the very first scene of the film. But while the tone of Cloudburst is staunchly comedic, it deals with some pretty universal and topical issues. Perhaps it is because the baby boomers are approaching retirement, but the question of how to take care of our aging LGBT population is a growing issue. Though Fitzgerald mentioned that he did not make the film to be political, he wanted to show that “the family you are born into is not always necessarily safe”. (Michael Hawrysh, 2B Magazine)
In the end, this is Dukakis’ film. There may be few parts available for actresses her age but this one is worth ten standard leading lady roles. She launches herself into it with gusto and never lets up. Doubtless it will frighten some unprepared viewers but they’ll never again dismiss old ladies as mere spectators in life. Other viewers will find it thrilling. This is a romantic comedy with attitude. (Jennie Kermode,EyeForFilm)