Movie Reviews

Film Review: “The Tracey Fragments”

(ThinkFilm. 77 minutes. Not Rated; contains violence, language, some sexuality. Directed by Bruce McDonald.) Ellen Page (Tracey Berkowitz), Ari Cohen (Mr. Berkowitz), Erin McMurtry (Mrs. Berkowitz), Zie Souwand (Sonny Berkowitz), Slim Twig (Billy Zero), Julian Richings (Dr. Heker), Marshall McCabe-Lokos (Lance). Music by Broken Social Scene.

Canadian film made the festival circuit last year and had a limited release in May. It’s of interest primarily because of it-girl Page, late of last year’s Juno and this year’s Smart People. “Fragments” is an apt term for this extravaganza of split-screen technique, used way too much, probably in response to the relative lack of story. Tracey’s a typical 15-year-old girl, we’re told; typical because she hates herself. The movie attempts to show her in an emotional and mental tailspin, as she’s tormented by classmates, and badgered by her frustrated father and wacko-addict mother. Her psychiatrist is a man in drag. Tracey’s kept going by her glam-rock fantasies about the new boy in school, Billy Zero. When her 9-year-old brother Sonny goes missing, Tracey runs away from home to try to find him, encountering street characters and the underbelly of society along the way. Director McDonald is an indie vet (Roadkill, Highway 61) who’s spent most of the last 15 or so years directing Canadian television. Here he’s too self-indulgent with the split-screen stuff, lessening the impact of the tale. The actors are fine, but it’s really all about Page, who’s in nearly every scene. She’s mostly effective, when her director isn’t getting in her way. (Movie is showing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from Tuesday July 1st through Sunday July 6th. More info at mfah.org/films. It also will be released on DVD July 8th.)

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