18-year-old Claire (Tatiana Maslany) is in the midst of her second attempt at Grade 13 after failing some courses during her first go around, including math and gym. Even though her successful completion of high school is in jeopardy, Claire remains careless about school, electing to dash in late on a daily basis after spending late nights out with Jim (Steven McCarthy), the much older lead singer of a band called The Elastocitizens (FYI: an actual Toronto band, in case you want to try and reenact some of the movie’s key scenes in real life). While diving headfirst into her rock ‘n’ roll love affair with Jim, she also rekindles an old friendship with Henry (Spencer Van Wyck), an awkward freshmen she used to babysit when he was little. Henry has had an obsessive crush on Claire for years but he hides his attraction to her as she takes him under her wing and attempts to find him a girlfriend. As Claire begins to come to terms with how she relates to the men in her life and with the “slut” reputation that seems to follow her around wherever she goes, she’s forced to confront her existence in the limbo between adolescence and adulthood and decide where her life in headed once she opts to leave her past behind for good.
This is one of those films that feels so personal you almost wonder if writer/director Kate Melville has ripped a page out of her own diary and laid her soul bare in the interest of cinematic verisimilitude. While not every young woman has gone through exactly what Claire does in this film, there’s no question that her uncertainty about her future and the act of finding one’s sexual identity apart from what peers and potential partners expect of you is entirely relatable for everyone — although I will concur that Picture Day often ventures into the territory of depicting a uniquely female experience that male viewers may not fully comprehend. It’s no matter though, because the film also accurately captures that emotional powder keg feeling that permeates the halls of a high school which is something everyone has had to endure, regardless of gender.
For her part, Tatiana Maslany is excellent at making Claire, who’s kind of unlikable at the outset, a character whose layers are slowly peeled away as the story unfolds – often in the quieter moments when nothing major is happening plot-wise. At the beginning of the film all we see is Claire’s well-cultivated tough exterior but soon it becomes evident that the rumours circulating about her (a reputation that she often in fact embraces) affect her very deeply and possibly even keep her from moving on to an adult world where her high school self would no longer matter. That’s a ballsy (uterus-y?) place to go with a female character, and not one that’s seen on a regular enough basis.
Is Picture Day Opening Weekend Worthy?
How can you not see this on opening weekend? This is a smart, funny and incredibly astute look at the female experience – that alone should get you to the theatre to show your support.
Picture Day Trailer
Picture Day Production Gallery
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