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By Merle Bertrand | March 18, 2002

Paige Fleming (Katherine Isabelle) seems like a perfectly normal teenager; normal enough, that is, for a high school girl living with her widowered, recovering alcoholic father (Nicholas Campbell). She fights with her on again, (mostly) off again boyfriend Jeff (Brendan Fletcher), writes short stories which she reads at a local coffee shop, hangs out with her wryly apathetic best friend, and tries to keep an eye on her dad to make sure he doesn’t fall off the wagon.
Yet, all it takes to rip the patches off the papered over wounds in her life is a visit from her estranged brother Trevor (Philip DeWilde). Ostracized by Paige since brawling with their father shortly after their mother’s mysterious death, Trevor is at first an intrusive presence in their home. Obnoxious in a passive aggressive sort of way, Trevor immediately destabilizes the rickety house of cards Paige has built. As her father’s behavior grows ever-more erratic and Jeff, previously a humorously pathetic stalker, walks away from his troubled girlfriend in an act of tough-love, Paige gradually comes to see things as they really are. And as Trevor continues to hold her reluctant feet to the fire, Paige must either embrace the truth about their past and present before the house of cards falls down completely around her…or she must be the one to tear it down herself in order to rebuild her life properly.
Director Robert Cuffley supplements his narrative with an ongoing stylized reenactment of Paige’s current short story; a piece that gradually sheds light on the events in her troubled past. “Turning Paige” moves along too slowly at times, especially at the outset, but even later as arguments repeat the same information over and over again. Cuffley does draw solid performances out of each of his cast members, however, turning what could easily have been an overblown Lifetime movie into a subtly nuanced story of a troubled family’s painful but necessary reconstructive surgery.

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