From director/writer Sarah Adina Smith and the Official Selection for FanTasia 2014 is the mystery of THE MIDNIGHT SWIM.
This film tells the story of Spirit Lake and a family. Dr. Amelia Brooks (Beth Grant) disappears during a deep water dive in a lake where many have tried to find the bottom. Left behind are daughters June (Lindsay Burge) a documentary filmmaker, Annie (Jennifer LaFleur) and Isa (Aleska Palladino).
Coming together in their mother’s cabin to settle her affairs, June decides to document everything. Sitting together they discuss what could have motivated their mother to do such a thing and leave them behind with no answers. To make matters worse the police have not recovered the body.
They search into the myths about the lake and even perform a ritual that conjures up something that unravels them all. Long time neighbor Josh (Ross Patridge) joins the girls as they begin to talk about the sadness and the reality of growing up together with their mother.
But one of them needs to find the answers that lie below the watery surface and will do what she must to at least understand the mystery of it all.
The answers are there, if they are willing to look.
FINAL WORD: Burdge is lovely as June. Using her camera to capture the truth of what the sisters are going through is well done by her character. Although the sisters get irritated, the character of June is one many people can relate to. Inquisitive definitely, Burdge gives such depth and endearment to this role.
LaFleur as Annie has the same questions they all do but if there is a leader I’d give it to her. This actress gives strength of character to Annie who, to me, is now the ‘mother’ of this group. It’s not always easy to take over that job either so props to LaFleur!
Palladino as Isa is the sister I perceived as holding back the most pain. It comes out in small doses until it can’t stay in any longer. Palladino does an remarkable job bringing all the emotions out in the open that the others seem to not want to address.
Partridge as Josh is what I call ‘the poor guy stuck in the middle’ of these women. Wanting to be of comfort he does try, but three women dealing with a disappearing Mom is a little more than he bargained for but well done to the end.
Other cast include: Michelle Hutchison as the Realtor, Shirley Venard as Maggie Helms, Kaya Sakrak as the Father, Traci Dinwiddie as the Mother, and Ebru Caparti as Auntie.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE MIDNIGHT SWIM three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is definitely a film about family secrets and hidden feelings between them all. We all have issues about our families and they seem to come out when we are hurting the most – so it is with these sisters. There are moments of joy together but the reality of why they are together always seems to bring them back to pain.
The element of mystery here is Spirit Lake. As the girls begin to uncover the stories that are legend, it is June who needs to understand her mother’s fascination. There is pain and understanding in this very well written story.
Director Smith has done four shorts including ONE CUP OF COFFEE, THE SIRENS and MADURA as well as written all of the above including THE MIDNIGHT SWIM as her first feature film.
In the end – the answers lie in the mystery of the lake!