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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suzie DVD Review

Suzie - An E1 Films Release

On DVD: August 4th, 2009

Rated 14A

Running time: 93 minutes

Micheline Lanctôt (dir.)

Micheline Lanctôt (writer)

Claude Challe (music)

François Lanctôt (music)

Micheline Lanctôt as Suzie

Pascale Bussières as Viviane - Bibi's mother

Normand Daneau as Pierre - Bibi's father

Our reviews below:


Suzie DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

Suzie is the story of a depressed cab driver named Suzie, who finds an autistic ten-year old boy in the back of her taxi, with only an address and a fifty dollar bill. The address belongs to his messed-up father. His father is going on vacation with his girlfriend, so Suzie is told to take the kid to his mother. When they arrive at the secondary address, Suzie realizes that his mother is extremely messed-up. She wanted her ex-husband to take the kid for a week, most likely just so that she can kill herself.

One of Suzie’s many big problems is that it’s not really that interesting. None of the character’s are likable. There is also so much yelling in this film that it would make anyone want to press their ear against a pipe to listen to the rush of water. It meanders it’s way through the entire 93-minute running time just to reach an annoying and unsatisfying conclusion.

The movie isn’t even visually appealing. It’s dark, grainy cell phone/security camera style cinematography gives it a dirty and cheap look. It’s set on Halloween night pretty much just for the sole use of atmosphere. And to justify having people in weird costumes jumping out from behind corners. Also, if it wasn’t Halloween, we wouldn’t have been treated to images of a group of drunk guys wearing rubber breasts.

The DVD doesn’t any bonus features.


Suzie DVD Review By Erin V.

*3/4 (out of 4)

Suzie is about a taxi driver named Suzie, who one Halloween night discovers a kid all of a sudden in the back of her taxi cab with an address and 50 dollars. (It seems in movies recently, kids just appear in taxi cabs when the drivers turn their backs for a second - it happened in Race To Witch Mountain, [and they usually have a wad of cash with them.]) So, Suzie brings the boy, who utters not a word to her, to the address on the note - his father’s house. His father refuses to take the boy and sends him back to his mother, who is even less stable than he. His mother has a seemingly common breakdown right in front of her kid, and begs Suzie to stay with her for the night, because she has trouble taking care of her special needs child on her own. Then, she yells at Suzie, then Suzie leaves, and the boy’s father shows up, and Suzie comes back, and everyone is yelling, so Suzie takes the boy with her. The parents don’t seem to notice. As a matter of fact, no one really seems to care...

Suzie is a movie that opens with credits with an electronic sounding piano score in the background. Then, we see the title character Suzie sitting/riding on a bus. After about a minute, we see her sitting in a psychiatrists office - interspliced with shots of a ticking clock. She gets up to leave, with only a line of dialogue uttered, and not from her. It feels really slow - and the whole movie follows this pattern. As a matter of fact, the only time it is not this slow, is generally when everyone is yelling at each other. For me, it was no more entertaining.

By the end of the movie, the kid would have seriously been in the custody of children’s aid. His parents need help, yet no one so much as suggests a therapist. He is living with an unstable mother, has an unstable father who comes and goes, was kidnapped by an unstable woman - (doesn’t faze the parents all that much), etc. The boy in the movie is hinted at having autism, which everyone seems to think is why he is the way he is, although his unstable living environment is an added stress that in the real world would really need to be removed.

If you’re really curious about it, rent it, but it’s not really a positive portrayal of anything - it’s more just a downright not-uplifting movie.


Suzie DVD Review By Nicole

** (out of 4)

Suzie is a slow movie, and somewhat disturbing Canadian film. The title character, Suzie, is a 58 year old taxi driver, who after 20 years, is still haunted by her daughter’s abduction by her Moroccan father. One halloween, Suzie is surprised to find a ten year old boy alone in the back of her cab, with nothing but an address and $50 in his possession. The boy obviously has special needs, and it is apparent that the boy, Bibi, probably has autism. When Suzie arrives at the address, she finds Bibi’s mentally unstable mother, who complains, right in front of Bibi, that he is too difficult, and that the father should have him that night. The father then comes home, and, again, in front of Bibi, complains to his ex-wife that she should have him, as he scares away any girlfriends. Suzie is upset that Bibi should have to hear all this nonsense, so she attempts to abduct Bibi to Morocco. When the police finally find out what has gone down, they do nothing. No charges are laid. After the parents claim that they were almost relieved to see their son abducted by a perfect stranger, the police send Bibi home. This is completely unrealistic. Both Suzie and Bibi’s parents are unstable, so why isn’t Bibi being protected? Bibi is the only likable character in this film. The tragic thing about this film is that we have a highly sensitive, and vulnerable child caught up in a world of unstable adults. While the implication is that it is difficult to care for a child with special needs, it seemed like Bibi was the one with the least special needs. I found Bibi’s character interesting, and very realistically portrayed.

Special needs are no excuse for child abandonment. The message that should have been in this film is that despite the challenges of being a parent of an exceptional child, there is still beauty in being able to share life.


Suzie DVD Review By Maureen

*1/2 (out of 4)

Set on Halloween night, “Suzie” follows events that unfold when a ten year old boy with special needs is dropped off with reclusive Montréal taxi driver, Suzie.

This is a dark and emotionally intense movie. Having the story take place Halloween night only adds to a very unsettled and disturbing atmosphere. The boy, Bibi, whose special needs are never clearly defined, is implied to be autistic. Bibi is shuttled back and forth between an emotionally unstable mother and an angry, self centered father. Taxi driver Suzie takes Bibi to shield him from his parents’ fighting and to heal her own emotional wounds. In a real world outside of a movie script, Bibi would have been in the custody of a youth protection agency so fast there wouldn’t have been a story.

I couldn’t feel sympathy for any of the characters except of course, Bibi. The underlying message that having a special needs child is so overwhelming that any parent would act irresponsibly is irresponsible to me. I didn't really like this movie. Throwing autism into the mix of the story just seemed to be a plot device to latch onto a current hot topic.

Unless you enjoy any Montréal made film or have a real interest in any of the actors then this is a really negative way to pass an hour and thirty-three minutes.


Suzie DVD Review By Tony

** (out of 4)

Suzie (Micheline Lanctôt) est une femme de 58 ans qui travaille comme chauffeur de taxi pendant la nuit. Elle souffre d’une dépression, vivant seule et parlant le moins que possible. Le nuit de l’Halloween, elle trouve dans son taxi un garçon de dix ans, un sac sur la tête, nommé Bibi (Gabriel Gaudreault), avec $50 et une adresse. Elle trouve là un couple au point de partir en vacances, dont l’homme (le père de Bibi, joué par Normand Daneau) n’a aucune envie de s’occuper de son fils et donne à Suzie $100 pour le rentrer chez sa mère. On trouve la mère (Pascale Bussières) tout épuisée et fachée que son ex ne voulait pas partager leur fils “difficile”. Plus tard, le père arrive et les deux se mettent à disputer. Suzie prend Bibi dans son taxi et prépare de le conduire loin de tout. Elle lui dit qu’elle ne veut pas le laisser abandonner, ayant elle-même perdu une fille enlevée par son père Marocain il y a presque trente ans.

Jamais n’est mentioné (comme le nom Valdemort) la question de l’autisme, dont Bibi possède les symptomes, partagés en part par Suzie, ce qui la fait comprendre sa peine. Par exemple, il parle peu, et quand il est frustré il a des cris typiques, mais il est doué aux jeux vidéos et à poker. Très sensible aux bruits, il se calme dans la salle de bain en laissant couler l’eau. Trop souvent comme ici, les mariages sont brisés à cause des enfants autistiques.

L’atmosphère du film est sombre et intense, presque sans humeur. On voulait éviter peut être un tone didactique au sujet de l’autisme par ne pas le mentionner, mais pour les gens qui ne le comprendent pas, j’ai peur que les personnages ne seraient pas sympathiques et leurs actions seulement bizarres.

The subtitles are in Quebec English, which includes vocabulary unknown elsewhere, such as “dépanneur” (literally “fixer”) which in French Canada means a convenience store, often run by Corean (sic) immigrants, and the rich reportoire of profanity based on the now largely abandoned Catholic tradition, such as “Calvaire” (Calvary), referring to a particularly miserable situation.

**1/2 (Pour les autistiques et ceux qui les connaissent) ** (pour les autres)


Consensus: Suzie is not an uplifting movie, it has a lot of problems in it - the characters also have a lot of problems in it. If you are are really curious, rent it. *3/4 (Out of 4)

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