Two decades after his inspired feature debut The Hanging Garden won best Canadian Feature at TIFF, Thom Fitzgerald again explores interconnections of sexual identity, family, and small-town Nova Scotia life, in this intimate drama about a young woman reassessing her relationship with her mother following the death of her father.
After his The Hanging Garden won the Best Canadian Feature Film at TIFF, acclaimed Halifax-based director Thom Fitzgerald went on to direct numerous features and television productions, including the award-winning The Wild Dogs and the global epic 3 Needles. His latest feature, Splinters, is a dysfunctional family drama about a young lesbian at odds with her traditional mother.
Belle has come home to rural Nova Scotia for her father’s funeral. She came out as a teenager but has never reconciled that fact with her conservative mother, Nancy. Amidst the family’s grief, Nancy’s disapproval of Belle hangs in the air like a dark cloud. Belle neglects to mention to her family that she has been dating a man named Rob for the past two years. She is reluctant to rekindle her mother’s traditional expectations of her and backpedal on hard-won battles to assert her identity. But the secret becomes harder to hide when Rob shows up to be the supportive boyfriend.
Based on the stage play by Lee-Anne Poole, Splinters is anchored by the rich and layered performances of Sofia Banzhaf and Shelley Thompson as two strong-willed women whose lives are upended when their routine deadlock is disrupted. The constriction of small-town mores is offset by the spacious, rolling rural landscapes of Nova Scotia in this beautifully realized portrait of a young woman’s complicated relationship with her family, her past, and her home.