Review: Old Stock
An old soul, 20-something Stock Burton has been residing in a retirement home with his grandfather and assorted elderly company for two years. While growing comfortable in his predictable, easing way of living, the past he sought to escape comes creeping back into his life, while someone new – a beautiful, outgoing dance instructor with a sordid past of her own – challenges Stock’s way of thinking.
Who’s in It?
Very charming young Canadian actors Noah Reid and Melanie Leishman star as Stock and Patti. The two of them form the heart and soul of a film that is at its most interesting, romantic, and funny when they share the screen together in this CFC production shot in and around Toronto.
Perhaps it’s the sweater vests he wears, the measured tones with which he speaks, or subtle hesitations he makes when encountered with unpredictability, but Stock exudes a geriatric nature. He is not an exaggerated stereotype, but simply a young man scared of the outside world and accustom to being in dark complacence. He is ready to retire, having apparently been a part of something so traumatic and exhausting that he has already lived enough of a life.
While the incident may have been trauma-inducing, the second part of that statement is a lie Stock tells himself. Clearly he is not done living, but in his past lies something that has scared him so. When his retirement home is vandalized, Stock is spurred into, well, not quite immediate action, but thoughtful, cautious, steps towards the outside world. This is not before, however, meeting the vibrant Patti, red-haired, smooth of step, and sweet of voice.
They dance a waltz, merging artistic acumen with awkward tension, their first of many curious meetings, in which Patti is more the pursuer, willing to be more vulnerable than Stock. The immediate and everlasting on-screen chemistry between Reid and Leishman is warming, as the pair carries this offbeat Canadian romantic dramedy. Each has something in their past they need to overcome, and both go about different ways of doing it. Thankfully, Stock is not an uptight archetype, nor is Patti simply a quirky caricature of free-spirited exuberance.
Both are authentic, layered, and thoughtful, if not encumbered by their former digressions as well as present emotional encounters. When Stock takes to the outside early on in the film, his attachment to a mobility device provides some laughs, while a later endearing encounter with Patti and her dad over dinner is most memorable.
While procedural (Stock ignores past, past confronts Stock, Stock braves, Stock hides, Stock tries again, with romantic interludes), there is a sense of realism and universality pervading, offering an honest and different approach to a story about being open with oneself and staying strong.
Should You See It?
Either following summer blockbuster spectaculars, or in spite of it, but yes!
“That’s a depressing tale,” says Stock.
“You’re a depressing kid!” shouts a retiree.