An Insignificant Harvey: Review

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 (out of 5)

An Insignificant Harvey is an independent Canadian film written and directed by Toronto-born Jeff Kopas. For those of you who are scratching your heads, you have every reason to be. If you are any everyday film goer, the kind of person who likes to hit the cinema once in a while, his name would probably not come up. Since 2001, Kopas has spent much of his time filming short films, all of which have been received with critical acclaim. Filming has always been his passion and An Insignificant Harvey is his first full-length feature film.

The story revolves around a little person by the name of Harvey Lippé, lonely, quiet miserable and working as a janitor in a remotely located small-town ski-resort. An orphan since a kid, Harvey isolates himself from the world. Little did he know that a stray Husky would open up his entire world. Harvey’s character is played by the very talented Jordan Prentice. A notable film we saw Prentice last was as the character Jimmy in the critically acclaimed In Bruges.

This film shows brilliance without doing much. In a world where we have advanced photography, intense graphic options and alot of colourful cinematic tactics, one has become use to the “enhanced” additions to film. Kopas has gone a different route with his film: simplicity. From the beginning of the film, there is no added camera drama. Simple shots that are very easily understood, coupled with simple music that enhances the mood & feel of the scene.

A film these days is given alot of critical feedback based on its style and production. This isn’t a film that will make your head explode because you are thinking too much or make you go “awww” in every scene. It brings forward reality; reality of ones inner feelings, ones inner thoughts. In this case, the thoughts of Harvey Lippé. Every scene revolves around Harvey, allowing oneself to piece together his character. Character revelation is a very strong & powerful element to a film and this film revolves around that aspect. However, Kopas doesn’t just throw in over-the-top drama, hyped up scenes or unrealistic factors to show character development. Simple interactions such as meeting a stray husky or falling in love with one of the towns girls is his methodology. For a second, you feel the moment is a bit cheesy until you see the scene develop. Kopas has brought in brilliant co-stars to complement Prentice’s character. Steven McCarthy, Art Hindle and Kristin Adams, three who play significant characters in the story, are not just background characters but characters that help us piece together the story and help us see Harvey’s character evolve through progression of the story. Kopas has done this in a very sophisticated yet simple manner. He has created a story worth talking about – a significant factor in a films success. You can spend billions on graphics but if your story is horrible, your film will be horrible. This is a truthful, down-to-earth and heart-warming story. It has a very powerful underlining meaning: the thought of feeling small and inadequate in the world we live in. It is something we can all relate to.

The film being 80 odd minutes long is a little slow for a typical film the same length, but, that slow movie experience is required to make the story shine. This is a definite watch for someone who really wants to watch a great story that has significance and deep inner meaning. I will say that this is not a film for everyone as you need some patience to watch it. I will also add that this is not recommended for young children as there are scenes, content and dialogue appropriate only for an adult audience. So you would probably want to watch this as an adults night out sort of thing.

This film will be playing a limited set of screenings from November 4th to November 11th at AMC Yonge Dundas in Toronto, with a Red Carpet premiere on November 4th. There will be additional screenings across the country. Please visit An Insignificant Harvey’s Official Website for additional details & exciting events leading up to the premiere. Do watch the trailer below and come out this weekend to watch the film!


Just for a little humour: According to the Competition Bureau of Canada, for something to deserve the tag of  “Made in Canada”, generally the “the last substantial transformation of the goods must have occurred in Canada” and also as a general rule, “51% of the total direct costs of producing or manufacturing the goods” must be Canadian. Lets see: the Director, story, film locations, crew, actors, production, distribution, STEAM WHISTLE! Yup, this is MADE IN CANADA!