Whistler Film Festival 2016: Grand Unified Theory


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      Writer-director David Ray finesses an almost-too-cute premise into one of the most purely enjoyable and impressive local films in recent memory.

      Astrophysicist Albert (Scott Bellis) is being courted by a prestigious New York university while his wife, Rita (Kendall Cross), is being courted by an ethically (and intellectually) impaired old flame (Andrew McNee—verging on comic genius).

      Their kids are dealing with the usual adolescent stuff: dorky Gordon (Max Haynes) probably shouldn’t have whacked off behind a neighbour’s hedge while he was peering through a bedroom window, and Lauren (Emma Grabinsky) is learning the hard way to never go pole-vaulting in anger.

      The zingers come thick and fast in this David O. Russell–shaped exercise in synchronicity-drenched family angst, and everybody’s performance is absolutely on point, including North Vancouver’s.

      But this Theory really works because Ray obviously loves his characters and, sure enough, so do we.

      Maury Young Arts Centre, December 2 (3:30 p.m.); Village 8 Cinemas Theatre 6, December 4 (7:45 p.m.)