This Canadian drama is as much non-fiction as it is fiction. These characters are in a staged situation but portray a version of their own self. They each share touching moments as they tackle the dilemma of being stranded in the wilderness. Constance, Alice, Winnie, Cissy, Mary, Michelle, Katherine and Beth are together in a borrowed school bus on a weekend trip when the bus breaks down and they are forced to seek shelter in an abandoned house.
The story begins with their embarking on the journey and initially peaks at the breakdown of the bus. A bigger portion of the group sets off to seek refuge while two stay behind to work on the bus. Each group experiences a selection of heartfelt stories and ideas as they work their way through the night in the wild. It’s slow starting, but points have to be given for authenticity in costume and scenery. This full movie is set in 1990 and each woman looks like a realistic version of the Golden Girls.
Director Cynthia Scott (Jack of Hearts) is to be commended for her vision of these final generation feminists. The way they all are shown banding together to survive, while talking about the things that have opened their minds, is touching. Constance is separate but doted upon because she’s facing death. Scott lets the actors speak for themselves online and, therefore, gives them more respect than most get.
Filmed in Manitoba, Canada the actors were provided with a flawless setting. They work with the wilderness for food, shelter and entertainment. At times they seem drunk with the freedom the situation has provided them. When you watch Strangers in Good Company online you can see the characters discuss issues of marriage, age, family and life. In a conversation between the younger African-American (Winnie) and one of the older women rips her wig off to reveal a balding scalp.
Later they show her as a child and a bride in family photos. The methods of humanizing that Cynthia Scott uses is what makes this worth watching on a rainy day. It’s drab and slow, but touching and real, too. However, I couldn’t force myself to watch Strangers in Good Company free more than once, and it’s not one for my library. An American comedic remake with Betty White, Helen Mirren, Whoopi Goldberg, and Estelle Parsons would be interesting.
As with most geriatric films, death is the backdrop to the plot. They’re each facing their own successes and failures and thinking about what’s next. They function like a family in their survival through the second night. Scott makes an interesting commentary on society with their scenes of behavior. After all, they used their pantyhose to catch fish.
Strangers in Good Company is a decent movie but isn’t one I would intentionally watch over and over again.