Canvas (review)

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Recipient of numerous film festival awards and praised by mental health experts for its authentic and humanistic portrayal of schizophrenia, this modest film is a must-see for its honesty and its fine, graceful performances. Ten-year-old Chris (affable newcomer Devon Gearhart) just wants his mom (a heartbreaking Marcia Gay Harden: The Mist), who suffers from delusional paranoia and explosive mood swings, to be normal and not all “weird,” but it’s much worse when she’s forced to retreat to a mental hospital and Chris is left alone with his father (Joe Pantoliano: Bad Boys II), who can barely handle his own grief, never mind his son’s. Writer-director Joseph Greco based this tale of finding a way to be a family on his own childhood, and the ring of truth under its gentle and unpretentious surface is brutal. Extras include director’s commentary, a making-of featurette, and a Q&A with Pantoliano and Greco.

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