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Review: Firecrackers

Still image from Firecrackers

These two reviews are provided by Lindsay Michiels and Kimya Armstrong from our Open Call for Film Critics & Writers!


REVIEW: Firecrackers
dir. Jazmin Mozaffari
2018 | Canada | 93 min.
Author: Lindsay Michiels

Firecrackers, the stunning debut from Jasmin Mozaffari, plunges the audience into the less-than-perfect lives of Lou and Chantal, two girls on the cusp of womanhood as they struggle to escape the confines of their hometown.

Lou and Chantal are not fragile girls. They live their lives loud and are quick to speak their minds as they plan their getaway to the Big Apple. With the money raised from odd jobs and a ride secured, the girls embark on one last night, celebrating their ticket to freedom.  However, their plans come undone when Chantal’s ex-boyfriend takes things too far, and their hard-earned money ends up in someone else’s hands.  After a night of drunken and dangerous decisions, their escape seems more and more unlikely.

Further entangling themselves in the societal norms of sexism and oppression, Lou and Chantal’s attempts to leave their small town grow desperate, testing their relationships between their families, friends, and even themselves.

Mirroring the all too familiar injustices of the world, Firecrackersserves as an abrupt reminder of the women who are drowning under a rigged system of misogyny.  Lou and Chantal prove that even the strongest and most outspoken girls can become trapped in a society determined to place them second.

Even as Lou and Chantal make more and more questionable decisions, the audience cannot look away, largely in part to the film’s stellar cast.

Michaela Kurminsky’s performance as Lou is superb.  Simmering with anger, Lou teeters recklessly between the undefeated and defeated. Between the fight that splits her lip and first introduces us to her, and the tender moments with her younger brother Jesse, Kurminsky effortlessly builds the character’s many flaws.  The audience can’t help but sympathize with Lou’s situation and therefore becomes hooked with every dangerous decision thereafter.  The flame-haired and flame-tempered Lou quickly steals the show.

Karena Evans also shines as Chantal, playing the carefree, quick to cuss best friend as easily as she does the damaged, scared young girl.  Evans and Kurminsky’s chemistry is electric and reels the audience in instantly, serving the perfect base for a friendship that is certainly tried and tested.

There are a few minor pieces of dialogue that are stilted and awkward, but even these minor flaws add to Firecrackers’ overall realness and heart.

Firecrackers paints an – at times uncomfortable – reflection of life outside the idyllic views of the prairies.  Artistically shot, the cinematography keeps pace with the story’s intensity.  Every off-kilter frame and skewed view adds to the film’s sense of misdirection and hopelessness, only to right itself as Lou and Chantal find their freedom.  It creates a removed intimacy, casting the audience as closely as possible, yet still unreachable towards Lou and Chantal’s goal, much like the girl’s themselves.

Jasmin Mozaffari’s Firecrackers leaves a lasting impression with a realistic and captivating story of patriarchal oppression, reckless youth, and the seemingly unattainable desire for freedom, guaranteed to have the audience pondering its story long after the credits roll.

REVIEW: Firecrackers
dir. Jazmin Mozaffari
2018 | Canada | 93 min.
Author: Kimya Armstrong
Firecrackers, the story of best friends Lou and Chantal immersed in a roller coaster of small town, low-income life and trying to gain control of it. They decide that they are getting out and heading to New York City where they believe all their problems will be solved.
The film starts off really strong, which caught me off guard, but as the characters began to reveal themselves it started to make perfect sense. I found myself appreciating where these young women were coming from and the adversity they were facing.
This film is well written & directed and I really enjoyed the diversity of the actors.  The plot showcases topics that are all too common especially for youth that feel trapped by circumstance.
As rebellious as these two girls are they are very resourceful when it comes to earning and saving money even though it comes at a steep price at times.
In watching this film, there were so many moments where I found myself holding my breath just waiting to see what would happen next. They are trying so hard to move into adulthood with naive expectations.
There were great moments during the film that I really appreciated. For example, when Lou took the time to pause and reflect on moments of tenderness.
I really enjoyed this film and not only would I recommend it, but love that it had so many takeaways, which led to discussions after the film had finished.

Interested in seeing this film for yourself? Buy your ticket for Firecrackers here!