In Seagrass, writer/director Meredith Hama-Brown uses a tired-and-true formula of the “family getaway” to uncover new wrinkles in an, otherwise, ordinary unit.
This pseudo getaway to the Pacific coast is actually a retreat for mixed race parents Judith (Shortcomings’ Ally Maki) and Steve (Luke Roberts), as they try group therapy that will, hopefully, resolve their communication with each other. Meanwhile, young Emmy (Remy Marthaller) has ghostly visions of her late grandmother while her older sibling Stephanie (Nyha Breitkreuz) tries to fit in with an intimidating crowd of strangers her age.
Hama-Brown makes a mess of these storylines; taking a very long time to say very little about coming-of-age complexities. Audiences are only given a tease of what these characters are experiencing. The bleak and uncompromising conclusion is good but, to get there, movie goers are subjected to emotionally overwrought performances by the ensemble, a crowbarred fantasy element, and drawn out scenes that repeat obvious points about the dynamics and personalities at play.
Seagrass screens at TIFF on:
Thursday, September 14 at 6:20 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre (Press & Industry)
Runtime: 115 minutes
For more information on the festival, visit the official TIFF webpage here.
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