(director/writer: Patricia Rozema; cinematographer: Douglas Koch; editor: Susan Shipton/Paul Bettis; music: Lesley Barber; cast: Pascale Bussieres (Camille), Rachael Crawford (Petra), Henry Czerny (Martin), David Fox (Chaplain DeBoer), Don McKellar (Timothy), Tracy Wright (Tory); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Barbara Tranter; October Films; 1995-Canada)

“The film is intelligent, sensitive and in its own uniquely quiet way quite a delicious treat.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Writer-director Patricia Rozema (“I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing”/”White Room”) tells a gentle lesbian love story. It’s beautifully photographed by Douglas Koch, catching a romantic wintry Toronto landscape.

Camille (Pascale Bussieres) is a French Canadian professor of mythology at the Calvinist ‘New College of Faith’ in Toronto. She and her boyfriend of three years, Martin (Henry Czerny), a fellow professor, are in line to become co-chaplains at the college. However, Camille’s secure life is upset when her dog Bob dies and she realizes she loved the dog more than anyone else, including her nice-guy handsome boyfriend. At a laundromat she meets a sympathetic Petra (Rachel Crawford), a lesbian circus performer who pulls a switcheroo with her laundry so they can meet again. After this meeting on the cute, the timid Camille experiments with lesbian love with her flamboyant new love interest who dresses in black leather, wears an orange beret, takes her out for a daring hang-gliding spin and shoots arrows of desire through her dorm window. All that Martin can wow her with, is that he’s a keynote speaker at a Christian theology convention in Chicago.

Crawford is bewitching as the pushy seductress; Bussieres is heartwarming as she goes from prim to perky during the course of her affair; while Czerny is the decent guy who offers his love, but finds he’s in over his head competing with his unexpected rival.

The results are not startling (it’s an old story that people want to run away with the circus when it comes to town, hoping to find a more adventurous life!), but the film is intelligent, sensitive and in its own uniquely quiet way quite a delicious treat.

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