UNLESS

By Alan GILSENAN

SIENNA FILMS - as PROD

Drama - Completed 2016

Reta Winters has many reasons to be happy. Then, suddenly, all the quiet satisfactions of her well-lived life disappear in a moment: her eldest daughter Norah inexplicably drops out of college and is found on a Toronto street corner, pan-handling and refusing to speak, with a sign reading GOODNESS.

Festivals
& Awards

Toronto - TIFF 2016
Special Presentations
    • Year of production
    • 2016
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • CANADA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Duration
    • 93 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Alan GILSENAN
    • Writer(s)
    • Alan GILSENAN
    • Producer(s)
    • Jennifer KAWAJA
    • Synopsis
    • Reta Winters has many reasons to be happy: Her three almost grown daughters. Her twenty-year relationship with their father. Her work translating the larger-than- life French intellectual and feminist Danielle Westerman. Her modest success with a novel of her own, and the clamour of her American publisher for a sequel.

      Then, suddenly, all the quiet satisfactions of her well-lived life disappear in a moment: her eldest daughter Norah suddenly drops out of college, runs from the family and is found on a Toronto street corner, with a hand-lettered cardboard sign reading GOODNESS on her chest. There she sits daily - pan-handling and refusing to speak - having relinquished her privileged life and her future, seemingly for nothing more than a word.

      Norah's defection from a normal life is an inexplicable mystery arising from the totally unlikely context of a loving family: Tom, the doctor father; Reta, the writer, translator, housewife and mother; two younger sisters, Natalie and Christine; a treasured old dog, Pet; and their rambling old home on the outskirts of Orangetown, an hour's drive from Toronto. The film follows Reta and her family as they struggle first to 'rescue' Norah, then to understand her incomprehensible decision, and finally, failing in both those things, to accept their daughter's strange path and incorporate her as she is as best they can into their lives.

      Based on the celebrated final novel by Carol Shields.
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