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TIFF 2017 Review: Kissing Candice

A heavy and apocalyptic story of teenagerdom.

In her first feature film, Irish director Aoife McArdle delivers a bildungsroman story about a 17-year-old girl who longs to liberate herself from the boredom of her small town in Kissing Candice. Prone to seizures, Candice (Ann Skelly) has a curious proclivity to see visions that she merely calls “dreams,” though as the film rumbles along it becomes quite apparent that what she’s envisioning are far more than simple fantasies. When the boy (Ryan Lincoln) she’s been envisioning appears in real life, things take a turn for the worse as Candice is sucked into the world of a notorious local gang.

McArdle takes the time to delve into several topics, including young womanhood, gang culture, isolation, and, of course, dreams. The film has an apocalyptic tone to it, both literally and figuratively, with an abundance of biblical references, a dark and edgy colour scheme, and a plot that crumbles and crumbles, allowing for only a few select instances of levity.

While the film’s story is nothing new, it’s well told and manages to capture the viewer’s intrigue with its flawed characters and in-depth look at teenagerdom. Kissing Candice is a great first effort, with a heavy style that McArdle will hopefully carry forward with her into future projects.

Joshua Howe

Joshua Howe is a writer and editor hailing from the small town of Kincardine, Ontario. He is a published author, poet, and sportswriter.