Director: James Genn Writer: Dane Clark Starring: Noah Reid, Melanie Leishman, Jack Daniel Wells, Corinne Conley Runtime: 85 min
There are many films that address the problem of an older man who lingers in his adolescence, refusing to “grow up” and act his age. Old Stock may be the first movie that inverts this dilemma; here, it is a young man who insists on living the life of an elderly retiree. The result is a sweet and quirky comedy that keeps one smiling while addressing dark secrets and hidden pasts.
Stock (Noah Reid), a bright and kind young man, is also a bit of an eccentric. After inadvertent involvement in a disastrous accident, Stock decides to move into an idyllic retirement home with his grandfather where he believes he can hide from the world, and appears to fit in well with his geriatric companions. After unfortunate circumstances force his departure, however, Stock must face the real world along with the secrets of his past that forced him to seek solace at Golden Seasons in the first place. Along the way, Stock begins a tentative romance with Patti (Melanie Leishman), a sweet young lady working as a dance instructor at the home to pay community service for an illicit past of her own. He also attempts to help his grandparents Harold (Jack Daniel Wells) and Gloria (Corinne Conley), who are drifting apart, to reconcile their marriage. Ultimately, Stock must face the mistakes of his past in order to embrace life to its fullest potential in his present, a lesson taught by Patti and his many elderly friends themselves.
This is a small, well-meaning film with a huge heart. For his first feature film, Canadian director James Genn has crafted a quirky indie comedy that is full of sparkling characters whose light and witty banter is nearly constant, keeping a smile tugging at the viewer’s mouth even through its darker moments. The actors are fun, lovable, and wholly relatable. These characters all have secrets, however, with which they must come to terms. It is appropriate that damaged individuals are able to find comfort and take solace in each other, an idea foregrounded by the parallel story relating the struggle of Stock’s grandparents to save their relationship.
A fresh take on the overdone idea of one who refuses to act their age, Old Stock is an honest and delightful story about the importance of facing the world head-on and living life to its fullest. Engaging characters and humorous dialogue keep the tone light even as weighty issues are explored and life lessons are learned. It is truly exciting to see such a gem of a film emerge from the Canadian movie landscape, and from a first-time feature-film director at that. I truly hope this unassuming little film receives its due attention amidst the barrage of summer blockbusters to come.