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Review: Joyce Wong’s promising Wexford Plaza is subtle, clever and sobering

Reid Asselstine stars in Joyce Wong’s film Wexford Plaza.

Courtesy of LevelFilm

3 out of 4 stars

Wexford Plaza
Written by
Joyce Wong
Directed by
Joyce Wong
Reid Asselstine, Darrel Gamotin

Betty is a single woman at the turn of 20, lonely and vulnerable but perky enough, working as a security guard at a dying Scarborough strip mall. Danny is a charismatic bartender in the same mall, $12,000 in debt but still upbeat. And while they hit it off, their intentions with each other don't match up. Signals are misunderstood; a simple miscommunication has sad, unfortunate repercussions.

Wexford Plaza, the promising first feature from Toronto's Joyce Wong, is a subtly grim meditation on suburban isolation – a lot of the action happens in a deserted parking lot – and youthful despair. The story is told cleverly with two overlapping parts. The acting by newcomer Reid Asselstine and theatre player Darrel Gamotin is easy and natural. A melancholic slice of life, Wexford Plaza's evenly wrought depiction of unhappiness suggests the situation is not uncommon, making the film all the more sobering.

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