Arts Review, Movies
John Mitchell & Christina Zeidler, co-directors & writers
Starring: Diane Flacks (Elsie), Carolyn Taylor (Robyn), Robin Duke (Abby), Raoul Bhaneja (Jonathan), Dawn Whitwell (Jackie), Shoshana Sperling (Rachel), Vanessa Dunn
Elsie (Diane Flacks) has a problem. She’s just broken up with her long-term girlfriend Robyn (Carolyn Taylor) because she fancies someone new (Vanessa Dunn)—but the feeling isn’t reciprocated.
But why have one problem when you can have two? Elsie’s job as a producer at a local TV station (clearly modeled on CITY-tv and Much Music) is suddenly threatened by a take over from a larger media organization, who want her to “go big or go home.” And Elsie had always loved her niche job at a small but influential station. Is going big that great?
What’s she supposed to do? Her mother (Robyn Duke) is a “nice Jewish girl from Montreal” who wants to make Friday Shabbat dinners and doesn’t really care about Elsie’s problems. And her old girlfriends are siding with Robyn, who was so ingloriously dumped by Elsie.
Portrait of a Serial Monogamist is a funny, somewhat satirical look at the life of a very contemporary lesbian in Toronto. It benefits from a wonderful performance by Diane Flacks as Elsie and a sharp self-aware script by co-writers and co-directors Christina Zeidler and John Mitchell. It’s also a lovely cinematic portrait of Toronto, a city of bikes, dykes, art hotels, late night parties and cool places where people can hang out on lazy afternoons or evenings.
You can sense that Portrait of a Serial Monogamist was made by people who love this city and embrace life in a queer culture that is acknowledged by so many in Toronto. (Though not, sadly, our former Mayor). This is a film that Torontonians should see for its brash, savvy humour and overall sexiness. It will be on for a week at the Carlton Cinemas, starting on February 12. Why not force the run to two weeks—and make it a Canadian success?
Written by Marc Glassman
Adjunct Professor, Ryerson University
Director, Pages UnBound: the festival and series
Editor, POV Magazine
Editor, Montage Magazine
Film Critic, The New Classical FM
Film programmer, Planet in Focus
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