Opening 10 Jul 2014
Writing credits: Michael Dowse, Ken Scott
Principal actors: Taylor Kitsch, Brendan Gleeson, Liane Balaban, Gordon Pinsent, Anna Hopkins
Baiting a fish is the easy part; getting it to want to jump in the boat is the true challenge. Murray (Brendan Gleason) remembers his dad, like neighbors, putting in 14-hour days fishing to provide a comfortable livelihood for his large family. Life was good. Now, Murray and neighbors meet standing in line to collect, and then cash, their welfare checks. When Barb (Cathy Jones) announces a job opportunity in St. Johns, rather than discuss it Murray escapes to a Town Hall meeting. The mayor and banker (Mark Critch) are courting an oil company to build a new plant at Tickle Head. First challenge: get a doctor, but where? Enter young Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch), involuntarily sentenced short-term to the Newfoundland harbor community. Taking charge, Murray rings the lackadaisical 120 residents into seductive action. Their timeframe is limited. The prize? Growth and financial security.
Working from a solid script with gleeful escapades balanced by emotive divergences, Don McKellar directs a spot-on cast that portray innocence intermingled with hope born out of desperation. Yes, some jokes are clichéd. But can you imagine anyone in this day and age that has never been on a bus, plane or train? Simon (Gordon Pinsent) is the friend we would all like to have, just as Kathleen’s (Liane Balaban) gutsy makeup defies provincialism. Mary Walsh (Vera), Margaret Killingbeck (Ellie), and Sarah Tilly (Miriam) prove curiosity is ageless, hilarious. In tandem with Maxime Barzel, Paul-Étienne Côté, and Francois-Pierre Lue’s capricious music, Dominique Fortin’s good editing, and Douglas Koch’s camerawork, the upshot of Tickle Head’s quest is lively fun for all. (Marinell Haegelin)