‘Guidance’ Film Festival Review
Guidance was covered as part of our Tallgrass Film Festival 13 (2015) coverage. For more on our Tallgrass Coverage, check out our ProNerd Tour Page.
After several successful shorts, writer-director Pat Mills has come into his own with his directorial debut Guidance, a rude and crude Canadian farce about the tale of a man and his plunge into a life of denial.
Enter David Gold, a 30-something who is still caught in the remnants of his past. Star of the TV kids’ show “Wacky Street,” we first meet David while doing an audio recording of New Age affirmations, a guided meditation tape for women, and also a last-resort gig to try and make rent for the month. Things head south quick, as David is promptly fired for being drunk at 9 a.m. and “sounding too gay.” On that note, everyone but David seems to think he’s gay, but then again, David is in denial on many fronts, of which the latest being a diagnosis of Stage 3 skin cancer.
Talking about problems and being in denial, David has removed himself from his family, and by removed, I mean the only family picture of his consists of his mother, father, and sister, with the faces marked out. On the verge of being evicted from his apartment, he decides he wants to “help teenagers” (by means more than buying them alcohol at the corner liquor store), and studies for a high-school guidance counselor position as he would for any acting role, which consists of watching youtube videos.
Gold, after fabricating credentials and posing as Roland Brown, an online counselor, lands a job as a high-school guidance counselor at a school who’s counselor recently died. In his new position with the…unique clothes and body language, Gold stirs the collective pot of the high school staff. He also stirs something else in gay gym teacher Scott (David Tompa), who takes him for a closet homosexual and begins pitching unwarranted and unwanted advances. David’s off-the-wall antics and advice to his students begins to score some surprising successes, paired probably with the help of vodka shots he recklessly shares with them.
Jabrielle (Zahra Bentham), a class-skipper stuck in an abusive home situation finds solace and comfort in the inappropriate but mutually supportive relationship that evolves between the two. Their relationship, however, soon takes a wild turn, with Jabrielle tagging along as he spirals fully out of control. The film grows warmer as it goes along and the laughs grow with it; the dynamic between David and Jabrielle seems truly genuine and helps the movie along.
In a rare moment of clear self-awareness, Gold tells a student, “Let’s just say I exist in the space between caring too much and not giving a fuck.” I think this is a life philosophy we can all live by.
The film, though like I said, definitely funny, does seem to wane towards the end. The farce humor is definitely great in the beginning to get you locked into the film, but towards the end, it almost begins to work against itself. Consistently humorous and surprisingly warm when it closes, the film at times seems like it’ll find a better home in living rooms and less so in the theaters. Still worth the watch.