Before I get into review-mode, just wanted to mention that Lovesick was sold out last night! I find there’s usually no need to pre-buy tickets at Cinematheque, but I put my name on the waiting list and thankfully got in.
Lovesick, directed by Tyson Caron, is a classic rom-com tale about a man trying to get over his ex. But, it takes place in Winnipeg! And I don’t just mean you can occasionally recognize a Winnipeg landmark, it really embraces it’s location.
Caron called the film a “love letter to Winnipeg” and it shows. First, it makes Winnipeg look beautiful. Imagine all those Instagram accounts that focus on Winnipeg, but filmic. Second, it’s not afraid of name dropping, from naming Winnipeg itself to flashing Wolseley signs. Near the end of the film, a character says “still in Winnipeg”, like we needed one last reminder. The film is also just well shot in general, nothing experimental but there were a couple mirror shots I liked in particular.
I found myself thinking a few times, “Would I like this if it wasn’t so Winnipeg-centric.” Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t like it nearly as much, but the film still has some great parts.
The protagonist’s character, played by Jacob Tierney is nicely formed and surely relatable. Dash is cheeky, artsy, and for the most part of the film, mopey. He very hipster with his precisely organized records collection. His profession, painter, is a bit idealistic, but leads to some funny scary sex dream inspired paintings.
My favourite acting performance was Ali Tataryn, who plays Dash’s new love interest, Nora. Her reaction facial expressions were emotionally heavy and she was able to convincingly deliver lines that could have easily turned cliche.
Some of the humour lands better than others, but I laughed out loud a few times, so overall enjoyable.
There were definitely some rom-com tropes like date montages and convenient time jumps. But other scenes involving sex, drugs and depression didn’t feel as trite.
The soundtrack is definitely a highlight (though will depend on your music tastes). It’s originally composed by Matthew Schellenberg, a member of the Winnipeg band Royal Canoe. One song, Exit Interview, is sung my John K. Samson, lead singer of the Weakerthans, which further complements the all-things-Winnipeg vibe. Listen to some of the soundtrack here.
It’s definitely fun to recognize our own city in the film, including the Tallest Poppy, back mural of Deer + Almond, the Peasant Cookery, the view from Forks market, the polar bears at the zoo, and even the legislative building.
I think a frequent problem with rom-coms is they are too generic, because they’re trying to appeal to a wide range of people. Generic characters, generic plot, generic city, generic quirks, and generic activities. To a degree, Lovesick overcomes this by picking a setting and really rolling with it, the type of people who live in it, and the things they do there.
If you like the occasional rom-com and you’re fond of Winnipeg, Lovesick is a great watch.
There was also a Q&A after the film with director Tyson Caron, producer Kyle Irving, assistant producer and actress Rebecca Gibson, and actress Sara Thompson.
Their enthusiasm for the film was touching. The audience seemed most impressed with how pretty they made Winnipeg look, and appreciated relatable situations like trying to find your shoes after the party (though I don’t think that’s Winnipeg-specific). The panel mentioned that the scenes with Jay Baruchel, the most famous actor of the bunch, actually had to be filmed in January due to his schedule while the rest of the film was shot during the summer months. Also, they are thinking of selling LPs of the soundtrack, so if you’re a collector like Dash, tweet them or whatever that you’re interested.
I wasn’t assertive enough to get in a question, but I most wanted to ask “was it difficult to get a film made, marketability wise, that’s so Winnipeg focussed?” I want to analyze the marketing strategy of any film that sells out Cinematheque!
Anyway, thanks for reading! Lovesick is playing at Cinematheque until February 5 (I actually go the review out early for once!). Let me know what you think in the comments below 😊 Also here’s the trailer: