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film review

In Porcupine Lake, Bea (Charlotte Salisbury) and Kate (Lucinda Armstrong Hall), turn to each other, becoming instant best friends – and maybe more. Tension hovers even as the girls delight in each other; nothing seems certain anymore.

Remarkable performances by the two young actors at the centre of the film – along with assured, subtle storytelling by director/screenwriter Ingrid Veninger – propel this cottage-country coming-of-age drama.

Bea (Charlotte Salisbury) and her mother, Ally (Delphine Roussel), travel up to Northern Ontario to reunite with dad/husband, Scotty (Christopher Bolton), who has inherited his family's gas bar/diner. Scotty wants to stay and turn the place around; Ally wants to sell and get back to Toronto. Bea, quiet and lonely, makes a friend.

Kate (Lucinda Armstrong Hall), bold and outgoing, is a townie living with her dysfunctional family on the wrong side of the tracks – and she could be trouble. But there's trouble for Bea at home, too; her parents are fighting. The girls turn to each other, becoming instant best friends – and maybe more. Tension hovers even as the girls delight in each other; nothing seems certain anymore. The film captures that fleeting moment when childhood becomes adolescence; when grown-up feelings and experiences beckon, but familiar comforts remain a refuge.

Porcupine Lake opens Feb. 23 in Toronto