Canvas starring Marcia Gay Harden, Devon Gearhart and Joe Pantoliano. Directed by Joseph Greco. Library Call Number: PN1995.9.M463C36 2007.A realistic look at the troubles and turmoil a family faces when a member is diagnosed with mental illness, Canvas is one of those movies that leaves a lasting impression.
Living in Hollywood, Florida, John (Emmy winner Pantoliano) is barely making ends meet after his wife, Mary (Harden) is diagnosed with schizophrenia. On and off her medications, she grows increasingly erratic and eventually is forcibly institutionalized by the police, leaving her husband and son to cope with her absence. John’s health insurance refuses to cover a mental illness, Mary takes one step forward and one back, but it is the effect on the son, Christopher that takes center stage. Taunted and embarrassed at school by kids who call his mom a nut case, angry that his mom is gone and his father is withdrawing into a backyard boat-building project, the pressure seems unbearable. Only the strong ties of the family can keep them all from spinning off the edge of the world.
This is a thoughtful look at how families deal with terrible events, an ultimately triumphant movie of the resilient human spirit, without the hackneyed Hollywood ending.