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Caitlyn Sponheimer stars in April in Autumn.

Courtesy of GAT

  • April In Autumn
  • Directed by Warren Sulatycky
  • Written by Caitlyn Sponheimer and Warren Sulatycky
  • Starring Caitlyn Sponheimer and Sandra Pascuzzi
  • Classification N/A
  • 90 minutes

rating

The entirety of April In Autumn is defined by two questions: How well do we know the people we love, and do we have any right to expose their secrets once we learn them?

This is what April (Caitlyn Sponheimer) grapples with after returning home to Toronto after spending a few years abroad. She unearths a small case of paintings and letters that she assumes belongs to – and was buried in the backyard by – her mother (Sandra Pascuzzi), and despite her sister’s (Elizabeth Stuart-Morris) protests, seeks to solve the mystery of who her mother was once upon a time.

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And this would’ve been more than enticing had writer, director and producer Warren Sulatycky focused more on April and less on the characters who orbit her. Because with only an hour and a half to warm up to April’s supporting players, we’re stuck learning only the bare minimum about the lead in a movie titled specifically after her. And that makes it a challenge to feel as submerged as we should be. Yes, the performances are warm, and yes, they are compelling (plus, Sponheimer delivers her all), but without intimacy created between who we’re watching and ourselves, the stakes don’t feel as high as they should be in a story about the consequences of revealing truths. Which isn’t to say it fails in its goals.

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Instead, April in Autumn seems like a guest at its own dinner party, where you come away from it just wishing you knew a little more.

April in Autumn opens Oct. 18 in Toronto

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