I’ve been anxiously awaiting the screening of this film since VIFF commenced – I adore Olympia Dukakis – and I’m happy to report Cloudburst didn’t disappoint. Absolutely hysterical, this flick completely caught me off guard on the grandest of scales.
Stella, played by the brilliant Dukakis, is a stubborn, foul-mouthed 80-year-old lesbian who has spent the last 31 years living with her beloved partner Dot (Brenda Fricker) in Maine. One night, while Stella is innocently tickling Dot with a vibrator, Dot falls out of bed and ends up with minor injuries. This worries Dot’s granddaughter Molly (Kristen Booth) who insists that she put her grandmother in an extended care facility as Stella is seemingly unable to care for her. Stella quickly springs into action, busting Dot out of the care facility in the middle of the night, whisking her away to Nova Scotia where the two will marry to gain recognition for their relationship once and for all.
If you have the opportunity to check out this film, get ready to bust a gut as Dukakis dishes some pretty funny – and filthy – rhetoric from beginning to end. Her performance reminded me of Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men, plus a few f-bombs. There is no denying the devotion and love between these two old gals, making Cloudburst one of the most endearing love stories I’ve seen in a long time. The film is mostly centered around a crazy road trip from Maine to Nova Scotia, landing our leading ladies in a few sticky situations along the way. A pleasant surprise was new-comer Ryan Doucette who plays Prentice, a Canadian drifter who’s hitchhiking his way home after a stint as a dancer in NYC. Brenda Fricker was adorable as Dot; the dynamic between she and Doucette’s character was heartwarming. Kristen Booth (Molly) was the only downfall in this film, as I found her exaggerated and irritating to watch. A large portion of the film was shot in Nova Scotia, where Canadian Director Thom Fitzgerald resides, which offered some beautiful scenery, most notably the Bay of Fundy and Halifax.
Cloudburst has been scooping up awards across Canada, most recently taking home the award for Best Canadian Film at the Edmonton International Film Festival.
4/5 STARS – HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Having just wrapped a cross-Canada festival tour, no official release date has been announced. Click here to visit the official Cloudburst website for updates.