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Canvas is a faithful portrayal of mental illness highlighted by terrific performances.
All Critics (27)
| Top Critics (16)
| Fresh (21)
| Rotten (6)
| DVD (1)
Though Canvas may not deviate much from the formula followed by so many other movies about families imperiled by health crises, it's unusually perceptive about the ways that loved ones process (or fail to process) the resulting stress.
It's like a public service announcement with dialogue.
Writer-director Joseph Greco makes a nice feature-film debut telling a true, disturbing story about a 10-year-old boy struggling to cope with a schizophrenic mother.
Canvas just doesn't sketch a sufficiently vivid portrait.
Canvas is worth seeing for the acting, but the disease-of-the-week conventions and hackneyed visuals pretty well knock the wind out of its sails.
I can see why it was a hit at film festivals. I only hope it now gets its due in theaters.
It's worth hanging on for where Greco goes with this.
Movies don't come more personal than Canvas, writer/director/co-producer Joseph Greco's serious-minded exploration of the devastating effects unleashed by mental illness upon an otherwise tightly knit American family.
There is something to be said for a filmmaker like Greco who takes the truth -- no matter how tough it is -- and turns it into a compelling drama about people we might know in life.
[A] strong first feature.
If it weren't for the terrific performances, Canvas would be a dull and lifeless film; Marcia Gay Harden explores the schizophrenic character of Mary with a judicial technique that is both compassionate and credible.
Greco succeeds where many others have failed in giving a real sense of what it is to grow up with a parent who's hobbled by mental illness.
An intimate tale of mental illness and its effects on a family, Canvas has some holes, but the restrained performances of Pantalione and Gay-Harden kept me very interested. Harden was wonderful; one moment bubbling over with joy and then the next filled with uncertainty, showing her to be very vulnerable and yet possessing an immense inner strength. The scene where she begs off an offer to go boating because she's suffered a bad episode the night before was powerful; down to the defeat in her voice, even as she was standing up to her problem.
Pantalione suffers in silence for the most part, and is most telling when he finally breaks and yells at his son that all he wants is to get back the woman he married. Heartbreaking stuff.
The ultimate reconcilliation between father and son is a bit formula, but how could it fail to be?
Some of the supporting roles were well acted - the smarmy boss who had just enough alleged humanity to not appear a cardboard cut out, and the young girl who befriends the boy, from all the coy looks and then rushed peck on the cheek - all really felt natural and real.
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