The stream of blockbusters hitting the theatres during the summer can be more than a little overwhelming even at the best of times, that’s why there is always a rich selection of counter programming if you need something a little different. From the Canadian Film Centre, “Old Stock” is a sweet coming of age comedy that addresses the need to let go in some places, but hold on where it counts when we may hit a crisis in our lives.
Stock Burton (Noah Reid) is a local legend. A monumental event from his past has frozen him, sent his family into a tailspin and pitted his small town against him. Now he’s simply chosen to drop out of life and retire…literally, joining his recently separated grandfather Harold, (Danny Wells) at the Golden Seasons senior’s home, where life is safe, comfortable and worry free with three delicious meals a day. However after two years of crokinole playing, pill-popping and blissful denial of his problems, Stock is forced to return to reality. Outside the safety of Golden Seasons, Stock’s past quickly catches up with him, and he knows he must finally face Dahlia (Meghan Heffern), the person who suffered most from Stock’s past mistake. With the help of Patti, (Melanie Leishman) a cute girl with a criminal record who recognizes all the good in him, Stock starts to muster the strength he needs to finally make things right. Along the way he must learn to look life in the eye, accept its imperfections, and re-open his heart for a chance to move on and finally be happy.
With “Old Stock” the team of Director James Genn and Writer Dane Clark have crafted a sweet and occasionally hilarious coming of age story about a young man who simply can’t get unstuck from one bad mistake in his past. The story doesn’t hit us with too many generic and tired platitudes and uses a wide range of comedy to keep us focused and locked in on the lives of these characters and the moments that they are living through. It is crisp and realistic comedy that doesn’t go for anything overtly gonzo but in mines every situation it deals with for the maximum in heart and hilarity with characters who we as an audience can easily relate to.
Noah Reid slides into the role of Stock Burton so comfortably as to an individual we have all had moments in our past that we’ve want to hide or ‘retire’ from but ultimately couldn’t. It’s a great scenario as he dives into the character of a young man who is stuck in a rut that even he doesn’t want to get out of. He gets all the fun as well as all the tender and vulnerable moments out of the character that he possibly can doing great work in almost every scene in the film. Melanie Leishman steps up and matches him turn for turn, as she tries to get him out of his shell while simultaneously dealing with her issues on being emotionally closed off as well. Danny Wells and Gene Mack provide some excellent comic relief at just the right spots as Meghan Heffern, Corrine Conley and Sean Cullen round out this wonderful ensemble.
All in all, “Old Stock” could be dismissed as just another sweet coming of age story, but it is one that is so well executed that it is hard to ignore. It comes hand in hand with a couple of real solid performances that it is a great little film that Canadian audiences should be very proud of, quite simply because it is one of our own.
4 out of 5 stars.
“Old Stock” is now playing exclusively at the Carlton cinema here in downtown Toronto, check listings for show times.
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