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Andrew Rotilio in The Hotel Dieu.

2 out of 4 stars

Title
The Hotel Dieu
Written by
Michael Krasnay, Vanessa Thibeault, Adrian Thiessen
Directed by
Adrian Thiessen
Starring
Andrew Rotilio, Charlie Hamilton, Jessica Siegner
Genre
Drama
Country
Canada
Language
English
Year
2016

How far can good intentions take you? That's the question accidentally posed by The Hotel Dieu, the debut feature from the St. Catharines, Ont.-based filmmaker Adrian Thiessen. The drama – which chronicles the aftermath of a car accident that leaves young lothario Luke (Andrew Rotilio) blind – was obviously made with passion and determination and heart by Thiessen and his local production team, which raised funds via Indiegogo. And the message at the core of the story – act with kindness, essentially – is a noble one. But the final product is an uneven one, mired by stiff acting, predictable plot turns and some truly stilted dialogue (the obviousness of the script is handily summarized when Luke's therapist utters the film's thesis, "Do we act for us or those around us?"). It's tempting to compliment Thiessen and his team for producing anything with such a low budget and in such a notoriously difficult industry – but then again, countless others manage to do the exact same thing every year, and with more artistically enriching results.

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