(director/writer: Jeanne Leblanc; screenwriter: Judith Baribeau; cinematographer: Tobie Marier-Robitaille; editor: Judith Baribeau; music: Marie-Hélène L. Delorme; cast: Emilie Bierre(Magalie Jodoin),Marianne Farley (Isabelle Jodoin), Judith Baribeau (Chantal Grégoire), Paul Doucet (Jean-Marc Ricard), Léon Diconca Pelletier (Manu), Guillaume Cyr (Social Worker), Marie-Ginette Guay (Mme Tremblay); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Marianne Farley/ Benoit Beaulieu: Oscilloscope Laboratories release/SLYKID & SKYKID; 2020-Canada-in French with English subtitles)

“The girl victim, played by Emilie Bierre, comes through with a dazzling performance.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A French-Canadian film set in the fictional town of Sainte-Adeline in Quebec. It’s a tense drama about child victimization directed by Jeanne Leblanc(“Isla Blanca”), who co-writes it with Judith Baribeau. The reward for sitting through such an uncomfortable film might not be much to most viewers. But the girl victim, played by Emilie Bierre, comes through with a dazzling performance.

The 13-year-old
Magalie (Emilie Bierre) lives with her widowed mother (Marianne Farley) and little brother in a quiet small town in Quebec. Her factory worker father died in a workplace accident recently. The kind mayor (Paul Doucet) has given mom a promotion, and makes it his business to look in on the family.

When Magalie faints in dance class, an exam shows she’s pregnant. When questioned she refuses to talk. This leads some in town to call her a slut, while the racists, without evidence, falsely believe her Mexican friend Manu (
Léon Diconca Pelletier), adopted by white parents who live next door, made her pregnant.

Mom furiously berates her to talk, the school social worker (
Guillaume Cyr) tries but fails to get her to tell what happened, and the neighbor Chantal (Judith Baribeau, the co-writer) who adopted the outsider boy and happens to be married to the mayor, supports the girl’s mom and inexplicably lets her adopted kid fend for himself when smeared in school with racial insults.

Mags’ story shows her vulnerability, and from a feminist point of view shows how women bare the burden of such incidents.

By the end we learn who impregnated her, but the film doesn’t care about him. In the meantime the bleak film rips into a town that doesn’t have the compassion to deal with the problem and tries to commiserate with a sullen girl who is too young to know how to deal with the situation.

It’s not a film I particularly enjoyed or accepted that it offered no resolution for the problem, but it’s better than offering a weak resolution and it was intelligent and powerful enough to pick up the rage engendered when a sex victim refuses to play by the adult rules.