Bored in her life as a wife and mother, Claire (Tammy Gillis) stands up at one of her son’s soccer games and steals another mom’s van to go and find herself. It’s not the first time she’s done this, and after a night away from home, her 7-year-old son is the one to tell her not to come home. Destroyed by this, Claire wanders down the road before being picked up by Jenny (Sheila Campbell), a woman who works at the most odd strip bar around. Claire gets a job there, and decides that the only way back into her son’s world is by taking a rock he found in Menorca, an island by Spain, back to the beach it came from because her son had been upset that he took it from there.
As a parent, it’s kind of nice to see a portrayal like what you’ll find in Menorca. Claire is tired and bored, but still very much in love with her son. She also realizes just how bad of a mother she frequently is. Normally you’d have a character who doesn’t realize how terrible they are, but through the story would realize this and change their ways. Claire knows she’s terrible, and it seems she also knows that there’s little she can do to change that. All she really wants is for her son to understand more about why she’s that way in the first place.
Writer/director John Barnard does a wonderful job of creating these flawed characters, but a moral to the story (if it exists at all) is buried very deeply. The film also has a tendency to be weird for no apparent reason. When Claire begins working at the strange strip club in the middle of nowhere, the most odd events happen, but not for any kind of reason at all. These moments take over a good portion of the middle of the film, but seem to have very little purpose.
I love that these flawed characters are fully aware of their problems, and that there’s no quick and easy solution, but the final moments don’t feel very satisfying. In fact, the biggest disappointment with the film comes at the end, where things seem to finish in a place that’s worse than when they started. Perhaps that stays true to the way things tend to go in life, but it’s not a very pleasing ending to a rather selfish story.
Is Menorca opening weekend worthy?
Flawed characters in a flawed world are great, but you wouldn’t want to sit down to this if you’re expecting happiness and hugs by the end.
Menorca opens Friday, April 21, 2017 at Carlton Cinema. Check their website for more information.