CLOSING out Saturday at MANIFF 2017 was Creedmoria, a wonderfully weird coming-of-age comedy starring The Hunger Games’ Stef Dawson. Our reporter Morgan Robinson gives us his Creedmoria review.

This film fully embraced human individuality, being ‘different’ and the weirdness that we all secretly have in the best possible way and was not only visually beautiful but wildly funny and touching, when the film called for it.

It’s far from the ‘typical’ coming-of-age story as right from the beginning it puts you into this bizzare, wacky family and just tells you to come along for the ride.

Candy (Stef Dawson) is a teenager that feels trapped and longs to break free from her ignorant, cruel mother – who is far more interested in keeping up appearances than helping her alcoholic son.

The Wes Anderson influences are no coincidence as director Alicia Slimmer pointed out in the Q&A that followed the screening. The bizzare nature of the characters, the pacy style and the family dynamic are straight out of Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums and fit the message and tone of Creedmoria perfectly.

Dawson gives a wonderfully charming performance as Candy who has to grapple with not only her mother, but an obsessed ‘jock’ of a boyfriend who almost immediately gets her name tattooed on his arm and becomes wildly jealous should she even talk to another man..

The one character who she seems to truly feel comfortable with is her brother, Shaun, who goes through his own troubles in the film, coming to terms with his sexuality and facing homophobia throughout.

Their chemistry together is excellent and as Dawson said in the Q&A: “We [the cast] are all best friends, they’re my favourite people in the world.” which certainly shows on screen.

This was a semi-autobiographical film to make for director, Alicia Slimmer who acknowledged that she did in fact have a boyfriend that tattooed her name on his arm and even that her mother was as bad as depicted in the film when she was growing up.This is where the inspiration for the film came from and it’s not difficult to notice that due to the very natural feeling family conversations.

Candy’s other brother, Dan has perhaps the darkest story within the film but even this isn’t without the humour, a constant presence throughout the very fun Creedmoria.

Creedmoria is such an easy film to love, not only because of its humour and story, but because of its message of promoting individuality and embracing the weirdness that is endlessly positive.

It should also be mentioned that for a film set in the early 1980s on such a low budget, the locations, costumes and vehicles also feel impressivly authentic.

Slimmer and Dawson spoke about how any member of the crew who owned a piece of clothing that even remotely looked like it was from the 80s, they would have it and that in order to get authentic cars, Slimmer went to car-meets and simply asked the men if they would like ‘their baby’ in a movie.

It’s one to certainly look out for and will undoubtedly leave a smile on your face, a song from the great classic rock soundtrack in your head and shouting ‘SBDE’ out of your car window.

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