CRFF North of Normal
Based on Cea Sunrise Person’s 2014 memoir, North of Normal depicts Cea’s unusual childhood in the wilderness and her attempts to adapt to modern city life with her counterculture mother.
In the 1970s, Cea’s hippie grandparents (Robert Carlyle and Janet Porter) flee the United States for the wilderness of Alberta and British Columbia, with baby Cea and her teenage mother in tow. Living out of a tipi, Cea’s first years are spent among adults who’ve rejected traditional conventions and expectations — she routinely witnesses to their copious pot smoking and indiscrete sexual encounters. With no alternative reference, Cea’s childhood feels normal, natural, and maybe even idyllic. That’s until her mother Michelle (Sarah Gadon) tires of her father’s criticism and decides to remove herself and Cea from the community to be a “real” family with her boyfriend Karl.
As time flashes forward, a teenage Cea reunites with her mother after what seems like several years — it is evident that their attempt at a new life went awry due to a lack of stability and Michelle’s chaotic, sometimes dangerous romantic dramas. Both tender and dark, honest and idealistic, North of Normal beautifully captures the joys and warmth, as well as the devastating failings, of an extraordinary family dynamic — a family bound by genuine love and affection, but challenged by ideology, selfishness, insecurity, and baked-in psychological damage.
“Carlyle’s very good — direct, unsentimental, and graceful — in a role quite unlike anything he’s done before. Gadon, soulful and natural as ever, plays her character’s flaws and humanity in equal proportion.”
-Jason Bailey, The Playlist
Tickets: $15 Admission (+applicable taxes and fees)