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Review: Suck It Up

December 1, 2017

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Ronnie (Grace Glowicki) has turned to alcohol as a way to cope after the death of her brother Garrett two months earlier, who her best friend Faye (Erin Carter) had briefly dated the year before, but broke up with when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

When Faye goes to visit Ronnie, she finds her in a messy, drunken episode and decides to take her for an impromptu road trip from Alberta to a family cottage in the British Columbia mountains over the Canada Day weekend, hoping that it will serve as a sort of intervention.  While there, they encounter Alex (Toby Marks), a local who had her own connections to Garrett, and Faye starts to fall for her sweet-natured roommate Granville (Dan Beirne).

Directed by Jordan Canning, an established short film director who made her feature debut in 2014 with the touching drama We Were Wolves, Suck It Up plays almost like a female counterpart to her first film.  Where We Were Wolves was about two adult brothers dealing with the death of their father by staying at and cleaning out his cabin, Suck It Up is about two close female friends also taking a trip to a family cottage in order to work through the death of someone they both loved.

The big difference is that We Were Wolves was more of a quiet character piece, and Suck It Up plays more like a broad road trip comedy with dramatic undertones.  The film runs a bit long at 103 minutes, and the comedic moments don’t always land, but it’s mostly entertaining.  There are also some poignant emotional scenes that add depth to the film, showing both characters coming together as they mourn in their own ways, and Grace Gowicki and Erin Carter keep it afloat with a pair of enjoyable performances.

Their characters are wildly mismatched, with Ronnie’s freewheeling and erratic behaviour standing in stark contrast to Faye’s ultra-organized, “Type A” personality, and they clash early and often.  But as expected, they also have things to learn from each other, and there is a certain charm to the chemistry that the two actresses share.  It’s their performances, and the handful of nicely handled character moments along the way, that makes Suck It Up worth a look.

Suck It Up is now playing in limited release at Carlton Cinemas in Toronto, and at Landmark Cinemas in Whitby.

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