Autumn 2015 Features series
Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Lindsay Mackay
Screenplay by Lindsay Mackay
Starring Julia Sarah Stone, Kenneth Welsh, and Craig Arnold
Rated NR ·
A coming-of-age movie driven by sharp observations and a poetic sensitivity towards outcasts, first-time feature filmmaker Lindsay MacKay’s Wet Bum is graced by an exceptional lead turn from 2014 TIFF Rising Star Julia Sarah Stone (The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom), whose performance is exquisitely crafted yet feels wonderfully devoid of guile.
Forced by her mother to work in the seniors’ residence she manages, fourteen-year-old Sam (Stone) endures a daily gauntlet of cleaning rooms and dealing with disgruntled residents. In addition, Sam’s slower physical development has made her very self-conscious about her body—an uneasiness that has not gone unnoticed by the fellow students in her swim class—and her swim instructor has become
strangely solicitous of her.
Unhappy amongst her schoolmates, Sam finds herself increasingly drawn to two of the residents at the seniors’ home: silent Judith (Diana Leblanc), who acknowledges Sam exclusively, and Ed (Kenneth Welsh, The Art of the Steal), whose persistent rants and attempts to hitch a ride to a mysterious location intrigue and trouble her. As her relationship with them deepens, Sam is drawn into worlds far more complex than the one inhabited by her peers.
Featuring a stellar supporting cast (including Leah Pinsent as Sam’s harried mother) and several wonderful set pieces—including a mid-winter party in an unfinished house that encapsulates all the thrills and horrors of small-town adolescence—Wet Bum is a poignant debut whose hard-won wisdom belies the youth of both its star and director.
“Another great debut Canadian feature in a year full of great debuts, this almost painfully realistic coming of age tale deals with body issues, awkward burgeoning sexuality, and how the young and old interact with splendid results.” (Andrew Parker, Dorkshelf.com)
“Even though the story may seem slight, as coming-of-age tales go, it packs a surprising amount of emotional power and wisdom.” (Bruce Demara, Toronto Star)