Director: Paula Kelly
Writers: Paula Kelly
Cast: Brooke Palsson, Sarah Constible, Taya Bourns Ayotte
Runtime: 100 min
The journey towards self discovery is often filled with silence and doubt. Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Paula Kelly brings a story of determination and strength with Euphoria, and ode to children who have been kidnapped by a parent. Brooke Palsson stars in this coming of age drama about a woman who has to learn how to be the person she used to be when she was a child.
For as long as she can remember, Michelle (Brooke Palsson) has been travelling with her mother Celeste (Sarah Constible) from city to city. After her mother claims her father has died, Michelle and Celeste have only each other to rely on. Soon after their move to Montreal, Michelle finds a photograph stating her real name, Lily, which brings back numerous memories of a distant past that seems to have been buried with lies from her mother. Deciding to decode her past on her own, Lily decides to run away with her mom’s van and return to her hometown Euphoria, where she hopes to find the truth about her father, and with that, the truth about who she really is.
Brooke Palsson does a great job carrying the weight of the film on herself, despite the fact that I found Lily to be quite a frustrating character when it came to accepting help from others. She uses many common mannerisms of dramatic acting, and it is possible to see a sense of nervousness on her part, but she makes Lily an interesting enough character to want to know what happens to her until the end of the movie. Sarah Constible succeeded in creating a character that not only confuses the viewer with simultaneous feelings of spite and empathy, but also a very quiet sense of nervousness that makes you question her actions and keep a very good tension between mother and daughter that is essential in order for the plot to function properly.
Despite the fact that Brooke Palsson displayed the struggle of running away quite well, it put me off how easy her journey was. I would have enjoyed seeing much more conflict during her trip, but instead she is met with people who make her journey easy. While I understand the story was dramatic enough without this, I just feel that, realistically, a trip like that would have a lot more danger than what it had in the movie. Perhaps this brings interesting commentary when compared to the situation of other youth in Canada, especially indigenous, as they often face different circumstances when travelling and hitchhiking. This of course does not take away from the value of the film, but it certainly would have made the journey even more enthralling for the spectator.
I found the intersecting stories of Lily and Michelle to be very interesting, and although the film felt a little too long for the amount of dialogue and conflict, it’s still a touching story with a compelling premise and interesting characters. I look forward to seeing more works from the people involved in the project.