The Movie Waffler First Look Review - SUCK IT UP | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - SUCK IT UP

suck it up 2017 film review
Grieving over her lover's death, a young woman takes a road trip with her free-spirited friend.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Jordan Canning

Starring: Erin Margurite Carter, Grace Glowicki, Dan Beirne, Toby Marks, Nancy Kerr

suck it up 2017 film poster

Lachrymose Canadian indie Suck It Up is a road movie more concerned with destinations than the usual revelatory journeys. In this film, which follows two women’s period of mourning for a loved one, it is the problem of where people eventually end up that is the primary apprehension, the hard recalibration of lives taken for granted but which have been cruelly hijacked by fate. Within the vertigo of grief, you not only miss someone, but you also mourn the life you would have gone on to share with them: that’s the kicker.

suck it up 2017 film

Faye (Erin Carter, brilliant, and looking like Amy Adams’ cousin) was the partner of the deceased Garret, and the mercurial Ronnie (Grace Glowicki; amazing name, amazing performance) is his sister. After an insular period of grief, which sees Ronnie getting pissed on her lawn mowing job, causing much garden-related chaos, and Faye reduced to chanting nursery rhymes in order to centre herself, the two decide enough is enough, and hot foot it to a family chalet (which, with its gorgeous lakeside mountain views, is, excuse the pun, to die for) in the hope of getting some breathing space and, with any luck, closure.

Problem is, as the girls soon realise, you can’t run from your problems. Anywhere you go, you’re still there, after all. And so, upon arrival to the sleepy town, Ronnie is up to her usual tricks of getting pissed and shagging whatever she can get her pulchritudinous paws upon, while Faye’s anxiety levels proceed to sky-rocket.

suck it up 2017 film

On paper, Suck It Up runs the potential to be indulgent whimsy, the sort of film that substitutes heady emotional content for thoughtful representation and artistic recountal; sickly melodrama that exploits our instinctive sympathies. However, director Jordan Canning’s visual storytelling collaborates with Julia Hoff’s sensitive screenplay to create a film that is sincere, moving and utterly compelling. Canning’s (aided by DoP Guy Godfree) superb choice of shots is an important factor, the way that her camera respectfully hangs back, or gently nudges in, as the two women stand, fall and attempt to get up again. Each frame is designed to invoke thought and empathy, rather than cheap automatic sympathy.

This complexity is extended to the characters, too. Ronnie’s alcoholism is at that early stage of dependency, where being drunk is still freewheeling and fun, an opportunity to enjoy anything but the sober circumstances. However, the film isn’t afraid to also show how much of a dick Ronnie can be when she’s wrecked, and I actually cringed at her antics at times (like when she spikes Faye with ecstasy: Glowicki does this sort of weird smile, which crumbles into shamed realisation. RAW). It feels true, as does the sex both women have, which is used to explore differing dimensions of grief. From Ronnie’s clumsy fumblings (which are, often, refreshingly, refused: it’s nice to see a film where all men aren’t simply priapic pricks) to the cathartic passion Faye eventually experiences, there’s an energising maturity in Suck It Up’s depiction of the old you-know-what. Both Faye and Ronnie seek comfort in the ultimate intimacy with another, although in Faye’s case, desire is tempered with both guilt and bereavement, each touch a painful reminder of the contours of her dead lover’s body.

suck it up 2017 film

What the film presents is the immutability of grief, the sameness of it, the tedium. How every day it’s just there. Towards the end of the film, there is an astonishing sequence from Carter, where she lies post coitally, the camera characteristically framing her in an unflinching medium shot as she calmly discloses both her anger at Garett and how much she misses him, while a single tear drops down her cheek: I’ve seen Oscars for less.

It’s during a similar stoned chat that a character discusses quantum particles and quasi-stellar objects, the idea that a black hole draws its surroundings in, and ultimately fashions something original and powerful from death. What a perfect metaphor for this unassuming and captivating film (although, speaking of stars, Suck It Up loses one for the weirdly inapropos, fratty mud wrestling climax - an anomalous sequence which, in its strangeness, amplifies the otherwise intimate and calm approach of this near perfect film).

Suck It Up is currently playing in Canadian cinemas, with a North American VOD release set for January. A UK/ROI release has yet to be confirmed.