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lead her once again into bizarre behavior and paranoid delusions, to the extent that she's finally removed from her home by the local police, who have been there many times before. But Harden's portrayal is so nuanced that we can see the loving wife and mother and the scared person inside. As Mary's frustrated, but fiercly protective and loving husband John, Joey Pantoliano is first-rate. I know I've seen him in a lot of other things, but this was the film that made me realize exactly how good he is.
But Mary's illness is only part of the story. When she's hospitalized (and in the scene where John and son Chris first go to the psychiatric ward to see a heavily sedated Mary, Harden is heartbreaking), a new relationship has to be forged between Chris, who has been taunted at school about his "crazy" parents, and John, who is seriously worried about being able to pay Mary's mounting medical bills.
To me, this film is less about schizophrenia as it is about family and love, and the human connections that redeem us no matter what's happening on the outside. There is a lot of love in this film.
If you haven't seen Canvas, you should.
EDIT: There should be a soundtrack for this film, but I haven't been able to find it. Joel Goodman's score is worth hearing, and there are a couple of gorgeous songs sung by Lisbeth Scott.
I don't think I need to say more about the authenticity of this movie. I just wish we'd had this movie when this little girl was still ten. It would have helped two ways: it would have helped her to know that other kids had to deal with the same kind of mother as she, and it would have helped her to open up to us in healthy ways so we could counsel her in ways to cope. It is extremely difficult for a child to know they should (and do) love a mother that acts irrationally. Every child who has a schizophrenic parent should see this movie; all the better if he or she sees it with an adult who is capable of counseling the child.
Mary Marino (Marcia Gay Harden) has been afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia for nearly two years and her disease has affected her marriage to her working husband John (Joe Pantoliano in his best role to date) and her eleven year old son Chris (Devon Gearhart): John misses work to care for Mary and still pay for her mounting hospitalization and medical bills and Chris suffers abuse form his mocking school friends, frequently having to explain away his mother's erratic behavior. Mary paints (therapy) the same scene repeatedly, hears voices, and finally refuses to stay on her meds, a fact that results in her long-term hospitalization in a Psychiatric Hospital. John and Chris continue to love Mary despite the radical changes in their lives and each finds a means of coping: John goes on sick leave to build a sailboat for his wife and son in his backyard (he and Mary met and fell in love on a sailboat), and Chris takes up one of Mary's hobbies - sewing patches on shirts - and finds an audience and acceptance and income at his school. How the father and son survive and conquer their challenge presented by the mental illness of Mary serves to provide the ending to this story.
Each of the actors is excellent, especially Pantoliano.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Intersting. Thoughtful and sensitive to complexities os family and social relationships.Published 1 month ago by Morgen
Movie was predictable . Marcia Gay Harden acting was realistic.Published 1 month ago by Zoe's mommy
Ms Harden does a phenominal acting job as usual, and supporting cast members don't disappoint.Published 1 month ago by Sue Scionka