by Dennis Harvey, published on Monday, October 28, 2002|
Economical script by popular Canadian thesp Daniel McIvor (whose own directorial debut "Past Perfect" also preemed in Toronto), a sensitive directorial bow by editor Wiebke von Carolsfeld and solid performances lend conviction if not quite distinction to the drama "Marion Bridge." Tale of three scrapping adult sisters reuniting over their mother's deathbed in a Nova Scotian small town has a truthful ring. But lack of any real surprises or memorable moments makes this quintessential nice-little-picture predestined for quality small-screen gigs.
Ebbing health of hard-drinking/smoking mom Rose (Marguerite McNeil) brings prodigal daughter Agnes (Molly Parker) back home to pint-sized Sydney from Toronto, where she's earned her own share of hard knocks. Her good intentions are greeted with suspicion at first by sour, divorced elder sis Theresa (Rebecca Jenkins) and couch potato youngest (Stacy Smith), who've heard their like before. But Agnes does want to make things right, in part by facing some past scars -- notably the sexual abuse by a now-estranged dad, which resulted in a child she gave up to adoption. Thesps are fine, presentation thoughtful and confident, if overall a little too low-key to make lasting impact.