Review of “Finn’s Girl”

 
 

Lesbian widowhood, rebound relationships, single parenthood, abortion clinic violence, preteen angst, reproductive technology politics — all pretty dramatic stuff for a feature film, and indeed, Finn's Girl would be right at home on Lifetime as a movie of the week.

Yet Canadian filmmakers Dominique Cardona and Laurie Colbert, best known for their documentaries (Thank God I'm a Lesbian, My Feminism), are to be commended for having a larger vision for this film, which was written by Colbert and has been screening at various LGBT film festivals this summer. Lesbian stories with depth and real-world issues need not be confined to the small screen.

Finn (Brooke Johnson, The Sweet Hereafter) is Dr. Finn Jeffries, a white, 40-something, salt-and-pepper-haired, motorcycle-riding reproductive specialist who takes over the operation of her partner Nancy's abortion clinic in Toronto after her death from breast cancer a year ago.

Finn's girl is Zelly (Maya Ritter, Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front), an 11-year-old who's been (understandably) acting out since her mother's death. She smokes Finn's marijuana with her friends Eve (Chantel Cole) and Max (Andrew Chalmers, A Home at the End of the World), shoplifts skater and sex magazines, and rarely lets an opportunity to sarcastically sass Finn go by.

Finn's friends-with-benefits arrangement with Jamie (Nathalie Toriel), a colleague at the clinic, gives Zelly plenty of ammunition. One evening when Finn is in Zelly's bedroom, looking at the slideshow screen saver of Nancy and Zelly on Zelly's computer, Finn remarks, "I really miss her," and Zelly responds, "Is that why you f— Jamie?"

In addition to missing Diana and barely coping with Zelly's attitude, Finn also has work to worry about. Abortion protestors show up at the clinic each day with picket signs, and death threats arrive regularly. Due to an escalation in the death threats, the police have been called in to protect Finn, much to her annoyance. She hates being watched and followed.

Diana (Yanna McIntosh), one of those assigned to the surveillance team, is an African-American lesbian cop who considers Finn a "kamikaze with a kid." Her work partner is Xavier (Gilles Lemaire), who fancies himself God's gift to women, but manages to do so in a slightly charming and not entirely offensive way. They spar good-naturedly about sex, women and relationships during their long surveillance shifts.

When the threats against Finn and the clinic become more pronounced, Diana and Xavier extend their surveillance to Finn's home — and to Zelly.

Zelly's father, Paul (Richard Clarkin), shows up periodically to spoil Zelly and express concern about her safety. He and Finn, who have known each other since medical school, have the typical disagreements that exist between custodial and noncustodial parents, but they also clash over work issues.

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