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All My Puny Sorrows

Director Michael McGowan
Country Canada
Year 2021
Rating Rated PG (coarse language, mature theme, sexually suggestive content)
Running Time 103
Trailer Link

From The Booth


"I love this movie like a person. It pierced my heart the way certain paintings or pieces of music do. The way standing at the foot of a mountain does. The first time I saw it, I had to stay in my cinema seat for five minutes after it ended, to finish crying. The second time, I vowed to watch it more analytically, but ended up crying all over again.

"The story, briefly: Lottie (Mare Winningham) and her daughters Elfrieda (Sarah Gadon), known as Elf, a world-renowned concert pianist, and Yoli (Alison Pill), a recently divorced mother and burgeoning novelist, are living with the after-effects of the suicide of their husband and father 12 years ago. Now, as Elf’s own depression closes in, Yoli has to fight to give her reasons to live.

"That sounds bleak, but mysteriously, it’s the opposite. What the screenwriter and director Michael McGowan pulls off here is a miracle of tone – the same tone that Miriam Toews established in her source novel, whose title comes from a Coleridge poem: “I too a Sister had…To her I pour’d forth all my puny sorrows.” It’s that juxtaposition of puny and sorrow, that heightened awareness of the bitter-sweetness of being human, that slays me. Our individual sorrows, when we are suffering them, are everything. But in the collective scheme of things, they are nothing. We go on. Life is funny because it is so sad, beautiful because it is ephemeral. Getting that tone right is how a story about grief turns into one of the most life-affirming things you’ll ever see." - Johanna Schneller, Globe and Mail.

This rave review is not the only one, making All My Puny Sorrows Highly Recommended.