Brooke Johnson is excellent as Finn, aptly conveying her character's grief over the death of her partner, Nancy, as well as her frustration and unease with solo parenting. There's also a telling scene in the abortion clinic during a procedure where we see very clearly that Finn is really a researcher at heart; her bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired.
The relationship between Finn and McIntosh's Diana, barely civil at first, builds with a convincing slowness that, as happens in real life, accelerates when an unforeseen event brings them closer.
The camaraderie between the cops, Diana and Xavier, is also well-played. They spar, tease and commiserate while taking their duties quite seriously. Yet there is a playfulness about them as well, which is evident when they play hockey with Zelly, Eve and Max.
And speaking of the kids, their relationship is just wonderful. Eve and Max have clearly been incredibly supportive of Zelly following her mom's death and do their best to encourage Zelly to give Finn a break. Max especially points out how much Finn loves Zelly and lets her be herself, in contrast to Max's own mother, a conservative religious zealot who thinks Finn's job is "the devil's work."
When Max tells Zelly that his mom thinks kids need to have a mom and a dad, Zelly says, "Two moms are OK; it's having one that's a drag." These young actors gave fine performances as preteens dealing with things they shouldn't have to cope with at their age.
Zelly's relationship with Diana develops as they share personal secrets and fears, and Yanna McIntosh plays Diana as compassionate, maternal, fierce and playful, with a no-nonsense edge belied by her teasing demeanor.
The most poignant moments, of course, are between Finn and Zelly. They clearly love each other but don't always know how to show it. Zelly tends to lash out, while Finn just doesn't know how to discipline Zelly. Johnson as Finn and Ritter as Zelly have good on-screen chemistry, which sparkles during several humorous moments that break up the drama. Screenwriter Colbert gave them meaty material to work with, and they rise to it with understated and confident performances.
Finn's Girl reminds me of how truly wonderful it is to watch a complex story, packed with real-world issues, rather than simply a girl-meets-girl romance. Don't get me wrong: I like those just fine when they're done well, but our lives as lesbians are multidimensional, and it's great to see a film that shows that with some depth.
The only off notes are some plotlines that are not resolved or fully explored. Several times during the film I found myself wishing that I was reading the story as a book, with plenty of backstory and additional details to flesh out the plot.
For example, a story line about a fertility drug that Paul and Finn are testing at the research lab is left dangling. It's also unclear what Finn's work at the hospital is if she isn't doing research in her former lab any longer, yet she walks around the place as if she is still working there.
Viewers might also have benefited from a bit more exploration about how Finn came to the clinic and to what extent she was involved there â€” professionally and with Jamie â€” before Nancy's death.
When all's said and done, though, Finn's Girl is a quietly wonderful film, with fine performances from all of the actors, including the two (Gilles Lemaire as Xavier and Chantel Cole as Eve) who make their screen debuts in the film. It tells an interesting story with engaging characters, political awareness and some science (including a twist about Zelly's conception), as well as the beginnings of a sweet romance between two adult women.