MANIFF 2017: Creedmoria – Embracing The Weirdness In The Best Way Possible

Closing out Saturday at MANIFF 2017 was Creedmoria, a wonderfully weird coming-of-age comedy starring The Hunger Games’ Stef Dawson.

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 either 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…for example. 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 male.

The one character who she seems to truly feel comfortable with is her brother, Shaun, who goes through his own troubles in the film in the form of homophobia. Their chemistry together is excellent and with Dawson saying in the Q&A: “We (the cast) are all best friends, they’re my favourite people in the world.” It 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 becomes an alcoholic after he suffers a baseball injury that leaves him deaf in one ear. Their mother, for no reason other than spite, also blames him for their father’s death from heart attack shortly after Dan’s injury. 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.

As he gets deeper and deeper into alcoholism, which proves for some wonderfully darkly funny moments, their mother has him committed rather than give him help to battle his addiction; something which does not sit well with Candy. The limit is reached when she tells Shaun to talk to a catholic priest after he comes out to her and the two of them (Candy and Shaun) do what they’ve wanted to do all along, break free.

Creedmoria is such an easy film to love, not only because of its humour and story, but because of it’s 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 car (or as she called it, ‘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.

The best yet at this year’s festival!!

Be sure to let me know if you are intrigued by this film and check me out on Twitter and Instagram!

More from MANIFF 2017 tomorrow

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