Review: Blood Pressure
The ordinary and uneventful life of a mother and wife is given a sudden jolt when a mysterious figure begins corresponding with her. Receiving messages through the mail, 41-year-old Nicole acts out tasks and is rewarded with gifts, and purpose. As she is required to do more, her job and family take a back seat, and curiosity consumes her as she investigates the strange new figure in her life.
Who’s in It?
Michelle Giroux stars as the desperate housewife of sorts with an impressive performance that carries the entire film. Judah Katz plays her beleaguered husband, while Degrassi star Jake Epstein plays her son.
Award-winning Winnipeg director Sean Garrity brings his small film to the big screen, with a curious and tempered psychological drama. Nicole’s banal life includes an oblivious husband, a pair of angst-y teens, and an insufferable younger boss, all of whom make the onset of her 41st birthday none the more exciting.
We meet her at the beginning of a sudden infusion of intrigue: a correspondence begins from an anonymous admirer, well-read, well-informed, and fascinated with Nicole. Oscillating between creepy and sweet (isn’t that always the case?), a call-and-response relationship begins, as Nicole receives letters with doting compliments as well as instructions of increasing complication, to which she adheres. Trapped in a monotonous world of thanklessness, both Nicole and the viewer are left to wonder the possibilities of something new.
And of something scary. The man or woman knows a lot about Nicole, but Garrity is effective at creating a world of such ennui that the motivational power of curiosity and fear are so apparent. It is a film vested in reality, however uneventful that may be – as we learn more about Nicole, we see she is not carrying on a lust-filled affair, she is not leading a double life, and she is not being tortured by some miscreant . She simply seeks excitement.
Garrity offers both tension and uncertainty in this small-budget film, as the more Nicole invests in this secret epistler, the more she raises the suspicion of her family, and the more she risks. It’s the boring and reliable versus the new and unknown, as Nicole moves from the innocent, curious woman, to the active, complicit thrill-seeker in this worthy piece of Canadian filmmaking.
Should I See It?
A small film set in Toronto and starring a Canadian cast, it’ll satisfy your indie needs and ask some interesting questions.
A moment of lightness and laugh-out-loud humour between two friends as Nicole’s former colleague visits her at work:
“Excuse me, I’m having trouble inserting my suppository medication, I’m wondering if you could help me?”
“Where are you putting it?”
“In my ear.”
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