The coming-of-age genre is packed to the brim with a variety of storylines and characters, delving into romance, drama, horror and comedy. You name it, and the genre has explored it. With this in mind, Marvelous and the Black Hole seeks not to advance the genre or challenge the boundaries of stories we have seen time and time again, but to serve up some simple truth in the face of adolescence.
The film follows Sammy (Miya Cech), a delinquent teen who often finds herself in trouble. In an attempt to control her, her father Angus (Leonardo Nam) threatens her summer shenanigans with a year at boarding school, leaving Sammy with no option but to attend a summer college class. Struggling to contain her frustration and anger after the loss of her mother and the introduction of her father’s new partner, Sammy spends her days avoiding responsibility, barely attending class, smoking cigarettes and stick ‘n’ poking her way to sanity.
A chance encounter with a wondrous, wise magician Margot (Rhea Perlman) changes the course of Sammy’s summer for the better, as she explores her feelings within the realms of magic and learns a few life lessons on the way. Margot spends her time teaching Sammy the tricks of the trade, in an effort to push her into channelling her feelings into something productive.
A soulful, beautiful story, Marvelous and the Black Hole taps into the empathetic, genuine rawness of teenagehood. The trials and tribulations of Sammy’s actions and her lack of coping with her enormous emotions make for an incredibly relatable tale, with the main takeaway hinting at the importance of finding one’s individual purpose.
Rebellious, cool animations and illustrations flicker in and out of scenes to properly convey Sammy’s perspective. Combine this with a steady, rock n roll soundtrack and Sammy’s disregard for everyone and anyone and the overall result is a subtle homage to a Daria-style teenage commentary that died way back in the early 00’s – before it peaked. This cynical yet heart-warming approach to aesthetics is relayed even further in the comical overtones of the writing. Although the film spends much of its run time dealing with complex feelings and relationships, there are real laughs scattered throughout, ensuring things don’t get too depressing.
Written and directed by Kate Tsang, Marvelous and the Black Hole reflects the best the coming-of-age genre has to offer. It certainly does not overstay its welcome, with a runtime of less than 90 minutes; this sweet but the short coming-of-age comedy flick will have you laughing and ugly crying long after the credits roll.
Marvelous and the Black Hole opens in theatres on April 22
by Kelsi Dickinson
Categories: Anything and Everything, Films, Reviews, Women Film-makers
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