April 25, 2019

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Drama overflowing with romance

Amid its unapologetic melodrama, film brings out beauty of Winnipeg

D FILMS <p />

In Into Invisible Light, actor Jennifer Dale plays the recently widowed Helena Grayson, who reawakens her desire to write and is drawn into a relationship with old flame Michael, played by Peter Keleghan.</p></p>

D FILMS

In Into Invisible Light, actor Jennifer Dale plays the recently widowed Helena Grayson, who reawakens her desire to write and is drawn into a relationship with old flame Michael, played by Peter Keleghan.

"Did you ever feel your life just veered off somewhere and you have no idea how?”

That is the question confronted by Helena Grayson (Jennifer Dale), recently widowed, alone and wondering about her path following the death of her husband Oliver.

In the immediate aftermath of that tragedy, Helena is assigned the task of overseeing an endowment for artists via a directive from her hubby’s estate. She is overwhelmed by the responsibility, having no confidence in her ability to adjudicate the art of others.

But at the same time, the responsibility compels her to ponder one of the paths she did not take. She once aspired to be a writer, but the dream was abandoned at the same time she broke up with novelist Michael (Peter Keleghan), who she says “squashed” her dream in an apparent fit of ivory-tower arrogance.

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"Did you ever feel your life just veered off somewhere and you have no idea how?"

That is the question confronted by Helena Grayson (Jennifer Dale), recently widowed, alone and wondering about her path following the death of her husband Oliver.

In the immediate aftermath of that tragedy, Helena is assigned the task of overseeing an endowment for artists via a directive from her hubby’s estate. She is overwhelmed by the responsibility, having no confidence in her ability to adjudicate the art of others.

But at the same time, the responsibility compels her to ponder one of the paths she did not take. She once aspired to be a writer, but the dream was abandoned at the same time she broke up with novelist Michael (Peter Keleghan), who she says "squashed" her dream in an apparent fit of ivory-tower arrogance.

At the same time Helena picks up her pen, she re-establishes her relationship with Michael, who is married and has a dancer daughter with her own artistic aspirations. 

In bringing the story to the screen, Winnipeg director Shelagh Carter (Passionflower) partnered with Dale on the screenplay and together they have made an ephemeral romantic drama, filled with beautiful diffused light, elegant interiors, a plaintive musical score and sublimated passion up the wazoo.  

D FILMS <p />

Into Invisible Light, starring Jennifer Dale, offers a romantic view of Winnipeg.</p>

D FILMS

Into Invisible Light, starring Jennifer Dale, offers a romantic view of Winnipeg.

It’s an achievement, making Winnipeg look as romantic a place as Venice. (The cinematography is by seasoned hand Ousama Rawi.) The romantic trappings can be a little excessive: when Helena tries to get back into writing, she does so in a room in which she is backlit against billowing sheer curtains, as opposed to crouching over a laptop in whatever room has the strongest Wi-Fi signal.

But at times, the script cuts through. In many a movie, a woman’s beauty is a given. So it’s interesting when we get a glimpse into the interior of a woman who, like Dale, possesses a distracting beauty. "You took my breath away," Michael says of her years as a model. "It opened a lot of doors for you though, back in the day."

"Maybe not ones I should have walked through," Helena responds. 

Early in the film, Helena’s arts adviser, David (Stuart Hughes), mentions the concept of "duende," a Spanish word for a spirit of creative passion that is also synonymous with "ghost."

That’s a decent summary of the movie itself, of course, a solid human drama with unsettled spirits dancing around its edges.

As in her movie Passionflower, Carter tends to err on the side of sombre seriousness. The story may not be the stuff of a rom-com, but that’s all the more reason to leaven the proceedings with a touch of humour. 

For that, Keleghan steps up. He’s primarily known as a comic actor, and here he takes on the complex leading man with admirable authority. But he still manages to bring some human warmth into the role, cutting the chill of the film’s unapologetic melodrama.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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