North of Normal

North of Normal
North of Normal
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North of Normal, a Canadian drama, is an adaptation of Cea Sunrise Person’s 2014 memoir, which tells her story as she grows up in the city after being raised unconventionally by her free-spirited teenage mother in the Yukon wilderness (played by Sarah Gadon in the film).

The screenplay Alexandra Weir adapted for this movie is one that employs a crisscrossing narrative structure that jumbles up events. It alternates between Cea as a child (River Price-Maenpaa) being reared to live off the land and Cea as a young teenager (Amanda Fix) trying to break into modeling.

North of Normal, Carly Stone’s second outing as director following The New Romantic, also stands out as a well-acted depiction of her childhood and teenage years. In terms of certain aspects of the film, it lacks development with parts of its story skimmed over. There were certainly opportunities to flesh out some characters and relationships more but at exactly ninety minutes it feels slightly rushed.

However North Of The Normal can rely on great performances such as engaging turns by River Price-Maenpaa and Amanda Fix portrayals respectively young and older versions of Cea. Robert Carlyle also makes his presence known in this film as Papa Dick who was affectionately known by his granddaughter and played by Cea’s hippie grandpa. While Sarah Gadon delivers some wonderful work here showing both love for her daughter combined with drug abuse and relationships with bad men.

Throughout, North of Normal features frequent new sexual partners for Ceas’ mother as she attempts to adjust to more traditional living right after spending most part or all her life where lines were blurred. The intriguing thing about how this movie is set is that it transitions directly from what Ceas goes through during puberty years back to past moments (joyful and traumatic ones alike) thereby proving that her background sets the stage for present circumstances.

It’s a well-edited film that captures an unusual childhood in a way that feels hazy like memories. The Canadian landscapes are shown off in the cinematography from David Robert Jones while they also provide an intimate look at character-driven dramatic scenes through its handheld quality. And the solid musical score by Electric Youth adds considerably to this as do several well chosen songs.

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