Victoria Film Festival: Cloudburst

Oscar winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as nursing home escapees Stella and Dot star in Cloudburst

(Thom Fitzgerald, Nova Scotia, 2011, 93 min.) The theory that any story can be boiled down to one of seven basic plot lines may be true, but just how many of them chronicle two ageing lesbians from Maine on a journey north of the border to get hitched?

Armed with Oscar winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as nursing home escapees Stella and Dot and Ryan Doucette as their unlikely hitchhiker co-pilot, writer/director Thom Fitzgerald tells a rather uncomplicated, gutsy love story worth highlighting in the program guide.

Originally staged as a play in 2010, Fitzgerald makes full use of the switch to screen with classically beautiful Nova Scotian backdrops in an all-together visually appealing package. Its theatrical undercurrents run close to the surface when at times characters, more so the supporting cast, move toward caricature – a shift that still manages to feel genuine and within the world of Fitzgerald’s dramedy.

Stella’s vulgarity may rankle some, but not enough to detract from Dukakis’ sure-footed and fiery performance, one polarized by Fricker’s command of blind sweetheart, Dot. These old pros make it look easy, and Cloudburst is that. Not a terribly challenging film, but one with a lot of heart and worth the time.

Feb. 9, Capitol 6 Theatre 6, 6:45 p.m.