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All the Wrong Reasons

There's always a right reason to do the wrong thing

Finding out who you really are isn’t easy — even when you wear a name tag all day long. If anything, the external label can almost make the existential ache even worse because it writes off personal identity as a piece of plastic, something that can be digested in a half-blink. This emptiness forces the ensemble cast in Gia Milani’s self-confident debut to cruise the aisles of a big-box store in search of a fix. For Kate (Karine Vanasse), the magic salve is safety and understanding. After experiencing a family tragedy she couldn’t control, Kate copes with her feelings of powerlessness by watching the store video monitors all day long. As head of security, this serves her well professionally. But as the wife of store manager James (Cory Monteith), Kate’s latent obsession and physical isolation is becoming a problem. The handsome young couple stopped having sex, forcing James to seek consolation in the lingerie department, and the arms of an adoring admirer. All the Wrong Reasons For Simon (Kevin Zegers), the sense of loss is dramatic and visible: He’s missing an arm. A kid who dreamed of becoming a firefighter, Simon tries to climb back onto the rescue ladder and resume his previous life, but without a second wing his quest is futile. The scenario may sound like a singing melodrama, or a small-town soap opera, but first-timer Milani finds just the right tone to keep All the Wrong Reasons on an even, and surprisingly authentic keel. Between the rows of product, writer-director Milani balances the bland and banal with the bleeding arteries of loss and trauma, ensuring the movie finds genuine beats as it pulls us through a bleak Maritime winter, and all the messy slush that goes along with it. There are several moments where things feel like they’re spiralling into sitcom territory, but Milani pulls them back into the real world with her kitchen sink sensibility that uses natural light, real locations and human weakness to keep things on the ground floor. For the actors, the bleached-out landscape and everyday characters couldn’t be more conducive to a strong performance. Cory Monteith is a particular revelation. The late actor sinks his teeth into the crunchy material with clear purpose and absolute fearlessness, ensuring that our de facto hero has endless dimensions. James is a good guy doing his best to make his wife happy while rising up the corporate ladder. But he’s also just a guy. And he has human needs. And the sexy single mom with the deadbeat boyfriend is constantly making passes at him. All the Wrong Reasons It’s not like we don’t recognize any of these people. Despite some of the grandiose scars they are forced to bear — Zegers in particular — Milani’s ensemble always feels drawn to a human scale because she’s interested in exploring basic human problems. Whether it’s the difficulty of moving on after trauma, or the ever-gnawing physical need for sex, Milani’s dilemmas hit home and so does her humble mise-en-scene. In a lot of ways, All the Wrong Reasons feels like the emotional and stylistic heir to another Canadian classic rooted on the East Coast: Don Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road. Though there is no road trip, nor buddy content, Milani’s movie still surveys the horizon of possibility with a dream of greatness. Every character is a little bit Cinderella in search of a glass slipper, and that’s a natural and healthy approach to life. But there’s still something slightly pathetic about the fairy tale fantasy when you’re stocking diapers in aisle five. Milani’s intrepid cast surrenders to every flaw and every ugly moment without trying to salvage any notion of persona, which for a teen idol like Monteith, proves a deep commitment to the craft — not to mention a fearless sense of intuition. Because it all feels so accessible and so dramatically muted, even the big scenes find a glimpse of goofy humour through the sheer humanity of the denouement. Combined with Monteith’s haunting presence, Vanasse’s prickly vulnerability and Emily Hampshire’s unapologetically bitchy pragmatism, Milani more than justifies All the Wrong Reasons. Courtesy: Katherine Monk, Canada.comOfficial Trailer
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Directed by: 
Gia Milani
Running Time: 
Cory Monteith, Kevin Zegers, Emily Hampshire, Karine Vanasse, Denis Theriault
Screenplay by: 
Gia Milani

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