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film review

Hannah Pearl Utt as Rachel Gurner and Jen Tullock as Jackie in Before You Know It.Courtesy of Films We Like

  • Before You Know It
  • Directed by Hannah Pearl Utt
  • Written by Hannah Pearl Utt and Jen Tullock
  • Starring Hannah Pearl Utt, Jen Tullock, Judith Light, Mandy Patinkin, Oona Yaffe and Alec Baldwin
  • Classification PG
  • 98 minutes


3 out of 4 stars

Are the creators and lead actors of the quirky indie comedy Before You Know It all women? Three words: lighthearted menstruation humour.

There’s much to like about the feature debut from writer-director Hannah Pearl Utt and co-writer Jen Tullock, who also star as polar-opposite sisters in an easy-breezy story about adults in various stages of maturity and children who act like adults.

All the parents are single parents, including flighty Jackie, played by a top-notch Tullock. Her younger sister Hannah (played by Utt) is a sensible lesbian. (She’s accused of dressing like a Mennonite caterer.) Jackie has forgone career and romance to take care of a theatre owned by patriarch Mel, a has-been actor and never-was playwright. Mandy Patinkin is wonderful in that role. Too bad he has to die to facilitate a life-imitating-art plot that involves a family secret and a soap opera actor not getting any younger.

The dialogue is clever and the premise witty. It’s a New York-y film that has the zip of a farce, without all the nuttiness. (There’s a little nuttiness.)

Before men know it, they’ll realize they’ve just enjoyed the female-centric Before You Know It.

Before You Know It opens at Toronto’s Bell Lightbox on Sept. 20.