"My name is Tracey Berkowitz... 15... just a normal girl who hates herself." Oscarr-nominated* Ellen Page (Juno) delivers an extraordinary performance as a feisty, independent-minded teenager with a unique view of the world. From cutting-edge director Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo, Roadkill), The Tracey Fragments tells the story of an outsider who uses fantasy to help her deal with a secret crush, loneliness and frustration. When her 7-year-old brother wanders away while under her care, she examines her life as she is propelled on a late-night journey through the city in a desperate attempt to find him.
Teen angst is amped up by a nuanced performance by a pre-Juno
Ellen Page in The Tracey Fragments
. "Look, the other day, something happened. I came to certain realizations," says Tracey Berkowitz, played with deadpan heartbreak by Page, huddled on a late-night bus near the beginning of the film. "I can't tell you what or you'll end up like me, on this bus, looking for someone." The scene signals a rocky ride, and the film--a portrait of an outcast Canadian teen struggling with bullies, clueless parents, unrequited love, and her place in the world--is wrenching and challenging. Director Bruce McDonald has taken the "fragments" of the title literally, and so the film is presented in several simultaneous screen shots at a time; rarely in its duration is there simply one scene to watch, as though all the different facets of Tracey are playing out at once. Which, of course, they are.
Tracey is hassled at school, dismissed as an "it" for being flat-chested, and treated as invisible by her parents and even her therapist. Only when something dire happens may have been her responsibility does the rest of the world turn its judgmental focus on her. Tracey begins a quest to leave her old life behind and try to redeem herself--find and honor who she really is--in the process. And the film somewhat brutally takes the reader along for the ride. "How do you know what's real and not real when the whole world is inside your head?" Tracey muses on one of the buses she takes into the night. It's as perfect, and painful, a depiction of adolescence as any film in recent memory. --A.T. Hurley