A summer trip from Toronto to Port Severn brings Bea (Charlotte Salisbury) and her mom Ally (Delphine Roussel) to the Snack Shack. It’s a restaurant Bea’s father Scotty (Christopher Bolton) inherited, and he wants to make a go of it. Ally isn’t as thrilled and wants to sell it, and their marriage is on the rocks with Bea stuck in the middle—shy, awkward and prone to fainting due to anxiety. Bea becomes friends with an outgoing girl named Kate (Lucinda Armstrong Hall), who comes from a chaotic home with a frazzled sister and her two kids, her stressed-out mom and brother Romeo (Harrison Tanner), who has anger issues after a head injury. Bea and Kate couldn’t be more opposite, and Ally disapproves of their friendship. As the bond between Kate and Bea grows stronger, Kate’s curiosity and misinformation about sex and love conjure Bea’s adolescent yearnings, plus a violent incident changes her outlook on trust, friendship and facing her fears.
Porcupine Lake gives us a snapshot of a girl’s inauguration into adulthood. From new feelings to seeing her parents as flawed humans and the cruelty in others, Bea’s journey into complex emotions and the realities of life is a sweet coming of age story. Written and directed by Ingrid Veninger and filmed in beautiful Northern Ontario, this film filled with summertime nostalgia and understated performances hits directly in the heart.
Review by Carolyn Mauricette
Charlotte Salisbury, Christopher Bolton, Delphine Roussel, Harrison Tanner, Lucinda Armstrong Hall