Charles Officer | 2008 | 93 mins | Canada
I was a bit suspicious when, during the intro to this film at TIFF, two producers came up to tell us what a special treat we were in for. The "I hope you like my film" crap that everyone usually repeats is usually falsely modest and disingenuous as well, but being told that the film is a "special treat" by the people who made it feels weird.
Nurse.Fighter.Boy is a CFC production (that's the Canadian Film Centre's new fancy abbreviation, for those of you who aren't in the Canadian film institutions loop), and according to the Feature Film Fund rep who spoke during the intro, it's exactly the kind of independent movie they want to help create. It made me long for the days when the Film Centre wanted to help make films like Cube, instead of syrupy, maudlin family dramas.
But that's neither here nor there.
Nurse.Figher.Boy is about a single mom (the nurse) who is sick with some sort of fatal hereditary disease, her precocious son (the boy) who believes in magic, and a pit fighter who's recently taken over his mentor's old boxing gym and is trying to turn his life around (the fighter). Over the course of 93 minutes, their lives intersect in various touching ways, culminating in a predictable emotional climax and denouement.
Two things this movie has going for it are great cinematography with beautiful use of vivid colour and light, and great music. Otherwise, it's designed to tug at heart strings in a way that makes me breathe a sigh of sorrow for the fact that our national film industry is so dependent on government funding.