The coming-of-age movie Picture Day has an atypical story that doesn’t follow the norm and that’s a good thing. The fine acting and direction makes the film work with some minor twists that although you can see coming, gives the film a nice credibility factor. Now on DVD the movie has good bonus features and plays well on HD TVs.
It’s the start of another High School year and Claire (Tatiana Maslany) finds herself back in school repeating her senior year due to her lack of interest. Still headstrong over her disastrous educational mishap, she avoids the girls who were her underlings that now rule the roost. To her surprise Claire finds a friend in entering freshman Henry (Spencer Van Wyck) who she used to babysit up to when he was 11-years-old. Being a newbie at the school parental dominated Henry feels he has scored big time as Claire would be able to help him get acclimated to his new journey into High School and break away from his domineering mother.
While Henry moons over his new found friend, Claire has already taken a step beyond High School hooking up with Jim (Steven McCarthy) the 33-year-old ‘frontman’ for a rock band called The ElastoCitizens. Her interest in him transcends being a groupie as she has fallen for him big time. At school however, Henry has been fixating over Claire remembering the fun times he had with her growing up and feels he has now reached a coming-of-age with her in mind as his teacher. But when Claire has to face off against the school principal, avoids Henry’s emotional advances and goes deeper into her relationship with Jim instead of her world being rocked it starts to spiral out of control.
I like the acting of this young cast especially Tatiana Maslany (The Vow) who under the fine direction of Kate Melville does an excellent job of creating Claire. Having to show her character change over the course of the film from wild and wicked to a woman with a realistic goal, she’s up to the challenge. Having grown past puberty yet having to deal with Henry’s puberty teetering on choices that include sexual misconduct, you can feel Maslany’s depiction of the growing dilemma. Claire’s future has a lot of doubt with the budding 33-year-old rock star who thinks that going on tour includes playing at every tavern and gymnasium in Canada. Tatiana does a great job balancing the two characters and making them believable.
There are some good bonus features on the DVD:
- “Commentary with Director Kate Melville and Editor Dev Sngh” – you can turn on their voice over while playing the film and get some of the reasons for shooting a scene and how it was created.
- “Commentary with Picture Day Cast”- this is a cool chance to hear directly from Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck, and Steven McCarthy when you turn on this voice over.
- “Rolling with Picture Day”-The “making of” gives you a chance to see Kate Melville and the cast as they go over some pivotal scenes from the film. They also talk about each other and make comments that are mostly complementary.
The picture quality of the DVD that features widescreen is exceptionally good. I like the way they filmed the rock concert at the tavern using low light and letting the The ElastoCitizens stage lighting carry the scene. There are a few scenes where it gets a little grainy, but will only distract film purists. If you have a Blu-ray player, try using for Picture Day as I found it did make the film show better.
The sound quality using the Dolby Digital 5.1 comes across clear in the dialogue and you can hear every word. I did have a little trouble with the band music wanting to rip up my speakers so I had to tone that down somewhat. I was pleased that some of the sound could be heard from my side speakers and caught some of the comments by the crowd at the concert that gives it a feel of a real live gig.
Picture Day has been rated R by the MPAA for drug and alcohol use and language all involving teens. Be cautious when deciding to allow anyone under the age of 17 to watch the film as it does have some scenes that may be inappropriate.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A different kind of coming-of-age film that plays on two levels.[rating=4]
Specifications and additional film information:
- Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck, Steven McCarthy
- Directed by: Kate Melville
- MPAA Rating: R for drug and alcohol use and language all involving teens
- Genre: Drama, Comedy
- Running Time: 1 hr 33 min
- Street Date: May 21, 2013
- Language: English
- Format: DVD
- Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
- Video: 16×9 1.78 Aspect Ratio
- Number of Discs: 1 Disc
- Distributed by: ARC Entertainment
EDITOR’S NOTE: In real time Steven McCarthy who plays Jim is really the lead singer for the funk rock band The ElastoCitizens that originated in Canada. The Elastocitizens are: Steven McCarthy (Lead Vox), Monica Dottor – Joanne Boland – MJ Shaw (Vocals), Brandon McGibbon (Guitar), Jason O’Brien (Bass), Mackenzie Longpre (Drums), Gordon Hyland (Sax & Keys), Brian Walters (Trumpet), and Carolyn Maraghi (Trumpet).