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Sitting On The Edge Of Marlene

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Festival Fare with Alessandro: Sitting On The Edge Of Marlene


Genre: Drama

Director: Ana Valine

Featuring: Suzanne Clément, Paloma Kwaitkowski, Callum Keith Rennie

Country: Canada

Production Company: Foundation Features

Duration: 90 mins

Skip/Watch/Buy/Devour: Skip

Reviewed By Alessandro Hutt

I completely regret ever seeing Sitting On The Edge of Marlene. Unbelievable and moronic, this coming of age clunker is beyond aggravating. 16-year-old Sammie (Kwiatkowski) must deal with her childish mother Marlene’s (Clément) drug addictions and small con artist schemes. As Marlene gets worse, Sammie becomes more and more willful. Also included – a dumb subplot about a religious cult.

This film is absolutely asinine. Marlene is so beyond caricature that it’s laughable. You’ll roll your eyes every time she’s on screen. Every single plot development she initiates will make you throw up your arms and cry “goddamn really?” It’s not Clément’s fault – I know from Xavier Dolan’s films that she is a magnificent actress. It’s likely the fault of the source material, a novella by author Billie Livingston named The Trouble With Marlene. The rest of the cast is unnoticeable. Callum Keith Rennie is unfortunately underused as he always is, in the role of con artist Fast Freddy. (Are you serious with that name?)

Sitting on the Edge of Marlene 1The plot is disgustingly bad. As soon as the religious subplot popped up it stunk of twee indie eccentricity. But I shouldn’t be surprised when the film has a Christian bully character named Mandy Morris. Gee this film sure is subtle! I wonder if the writer saw the film Saved!? Other tired tropes included are a mother that is a sexual addict, and the daughter getting assaulted by a creepy old man.

To make things worse, the final scene is one giant middle finger towards the audience. I get that the film is trying to be edgy and different with it’s ending but instead it’s unbelievably ill fitting. I can’t recommend Sitting On The Edge of Marlene at all. In fact it’s in the running for worst film of the year for me. It’s a shame because I enjoy some of the actors. Avoid this one completely.

About The Author
Journalist/Writer/Music Geek Extraordinaire/ Film Snob (Yes I admit it)/ Anime Fan/ LGBTQI Member + Supporter
  • Dee
    November 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I saw this film — I pretty much agree with everything you said. Except with attributing the misery on screen to the source material. I suspect you have not read the short story, The Trouble with Marlene. It’s a far cry from what’s on screen. I wonder how author, Billie Livingston feels about what was done to her story. (Hint: there is no Fast Freddy character and Sammie does not murder anyone in Livingston’s story). I read the story after novel, One Good Hustle, which was nominated for the Giller prize. The same characters started as a story, I guess, and then became a novel. Like I say, it was a far cry from this drek film.

    • TriptychAlessandro
      November 17, 2014 at 1:58 am

      You’re right – it was a callous assumption for me to make on the source novella.

      and yes – the ending to the film was just asinine. It really took the film from MEH to REALLY?

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