It’s always hard to make a comedy based on the topic of mental illness, but that doesn’t stop director Bruce Sweeney from giving it his best shot in his latest project, Kingsway.
The story follows Matt (Jeff Gladstone), a cowardly, manic-depressive who becomes obsessed with the idea that his wife, Lori (Colleen Rennison) is cheating on him. Things become more complicated when his well-meaning mother, Marion (Gabrielle Rose) and his no-nonsense sister, Jess (Camille Sullivan) get involved in their relationship drama. Jess, though concerned for Matt, has her own issues happening in her personal life that often makes her interactions with her brother confrontational.
After it turns out that Lori is actually cheating on Matt with this best friend, Marion and Jess feel they have to put their lives aside to keep a now suicidal Matt from killing himself. And things become a little more complicated when Lori also reveals, she’s pregnant.
“…a cowardly, manic-depressive who becomes obsessed with the idea that his wife is cheating on him.”
Kingsway is a “slice of life” family dramedy that does a few things right but fails pretty hard in other areas.
The acting is definitely the strength of this movie. Gabrielle Rose and Camille Sullivan do a lot to carry this movie. Not to take anything away from the other strong performances of the film, but they are definitely what I would call the standouts!
But where the acting is strong, the story, unfortunately, falls pretty flat, especially towards the end of the film. There’s not a lot that really keeps you invested in how everything plays out. And by the time you do reach the end, you almost don’t really care anymore.
“…Rose and Sullivan do a lot to carry this movie…I would call the standouts!”
There’s the problem with the characters of Matt and Lori. It’s uncertain whether they are people you should be rooting for or not. Both characters are obviously flawed, and I assume that the point, but their relationship is so toxic that really don’t even care most of the time what happens with these two.
Then there’s the issue with Jess, who although it was stated early on in the film that she has had relationship problems of her own, all of a sudden finds herself in a ”healthy,” lesbian relationship with the front-desk girl who works at her shop? Nothing wrong with that other than it was implied throughout the film that she was straight, even having sex with a (male) friend of the family. It seemed like a strange jump of extremes.
I will give credit where it’s due, Bruce Sweeney did keep this movie short, at a runtime of an hour and twenty-five minutes (anything longer than that would have been a rough watch). And the scenes were extremely well shot. But I would only recommend this movie if your home on a Monday or Tuesday night and there is nothing else is on TV.
Kingsway (2018) Directed and Written by Bruce Sweeney. Starring Camille Sullivan, Jeff Gladstone, Gabrielle Rose, and Colleen Rennison. Kingsway screened at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
5 out of 10