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Portrait Of A Serial MOnogamist (Wolfe Video/DVD/2015)



 
Writer/Directors John Mitchell and Christina Zeidler have presented us, in “Portrait of a Serial Monogamist,” with a sweet but incomplete look at what “serial monogamy” actually is:  having one lover at a time, but with timetables counting down the minutes until the S.M. leaves. And, perhaps pertinent to the process, a Canadian film at that (nice folk, Canadians – something they themselves will note as a potential black mark on their work).

Perky young Elsie Neufeld (Diane Flacks), Jewish and in the midst of breaking up with a very nice lover, WASP-y Robyn (Carolyn Taylor), is in her early 30s, old enough to have noticed what everyone around her notices, that while she is successfully lesbian, she has left a trail of enraged ex-girlfriends in their home city of Toronto.

Her “adventures” in creating space for new girlfriends to attend to hasn’t left her noticeably happier, just…well…compelled, I suppose, to love-and-dump in a regular fashion.

The script unfortunately doesn’t do a credible job of making Elsie interesting. That she comes from a Jewish family does allow some humor at a Friday-night family dinner and the lesbian community is not stereotyped in any negative fashion, but Elsie’s not particularly forthcoming in her rationales for leaving them and doesn’t have much insight into her behavior (always imperative for audience-understanding that might lead to forgiveness).

However, the cast is fine, the cinematography on Toronto (by Celiana Cardenas) is lovely, but we must always look at the more sour sides of our communities, especially when it’s as gentle as director Mitchell and Zeidler have allowed. Flacks, while not traditionally pretty, does have spunk and is clearly brighter than her actions might suggest. There are plenty of reasons for women to love her, but with the number of bridges she has burnt there’s not many gals willingly left for her to cross over stormy waters to persuade.  

It’s a gentle dramedy, reasonably well-made, and will elicit a chuckle or two.  You wouldn’t be amiss to watch it.