TIFF 2014 Review: Songs She Wrote About People She Knows
Songs She Wrote About People She Knows is about an emotionally repressed woman who finds catharsis by composing and performing songs about the people in her life. Carole (Arabella Bushnell) – who looks like she walked straight out of Mad Men – sings about contemplating murder and burning people with her eyes. Needless to say these little ditties left on the answering machines of their victims quickly disrupt Carole’s life. She ends up on an adventure with her possibly bipolar boss Dave (Brad Dryborough).
Kris Elgstrand’s dark comedy has promise with its quirkily endearing set design and deadpan performance from Bushnell (Carole’s apartment is actually the apartment Elgstrand shares with wife and star Bushnell) but sadly all of the film’s jokes fall flat.
A scene in which hymnal singing policemen show up at Carole’s apartment should be hilarious but just isn’t somehow. Carole’s boss Dave is a composite of so many clichéd visions of middle-aged men that it’s truly impossible to find anything he says or does funny which is a shame since he is in nearly every scene.
While the concept for Songs She Wrote About People She Knows is certainly an original one, the film like so many Canadian indie flicks is lacking any real edge. Kudos to Elgstrand though for reviving a dying art by shooting on film with a Super 16.