The Animal Project (Canada, 2013)

animal_projectDirected by: Ingrid Veninger. I had to see this movie for professional reasons recently, and I probably wouldn’t have seen it otherwise, especially since I’d never heard of it. I’m glad I saw it because, as a brief glance through this blog would demonstrate, I could use a bump of Canadian films and women directors in my film diet, and this movie has both. That being said, I’m not sure how nuts I am about this movie. Any film that has at its center a middle-class white dude trying to “find himself” kind of loses me from the get-go, even though I am that. I may be squarely their demographic, but I’ve seen enough of this kind of thing in the past. To be fair, this is a more bizarre, less disgustingly sentimental example of all that than, say, Garden State or something, but that’s not saying a lot. I guess any film that’s just about a bunch of actors trying to use fuzzy animal costumes to overcome their personal problems and find their “true selves” just doesn’t work for me. This film does that as well as it can probably be done, but for me it’s not enough. Call me narrow-minded, but that whole concept might just be doomed from the start, you know? And on top of it, what they’re using that whole structure to work through, the character arcs of like 10 discreet characters, is just too much weight for such a frail skeleton to carry, if you get my metaphor. Anyway, I saw it, chalk that up to my year-end tally of Canadian indie feel-good art films. But next time, I should know better and just go for some Sarah Polley.

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