Canvas
Gaiam

Canvas

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Product Description When Mary's (Marcia Gay Harden) mental illness puts herself and her family in jeopardy, her husband (Joe Pantoliano) and son (Devon Gearhart) helplessly watch as she is torn from the family by the police. Forced to raise a boy on his own and cope with his wife's schizophrenia, father and son learn what it is to truly be a family. Inspired by a true story, this critically acclaimed and award winning film is as full of hope and humor as it is heartbreaking performances. Amazon.com Inspired by first-hand experience, Canvas handles the mental illness of a family member with sympathy and sensitivity. Ten-year-old towhead Chris (newcomer Devon Gearhart) lives on the Florida coast with his construction worker father, John (Emmy winner Joe Pantoliano, The Sopranos), and amateur artist mother, Mary (Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock). Since a diagnosis of schizophrenia 18 months ago, Mary's behavior has grown increasingly erratic. John's insurance company refuses to cover her medication, and she refuses to take it. To add insult to injury, his mother embarrasses Chris publicly and classmates make fun of her outbursts. When Mary’s paranoid delusions result in institutionalization, John becomes Chris's sole caretaker. To take their minds off their problems, John starts building a sailboat and Chris picks up sewing. To the boy’s surprise, his customized T-shirts catch on with the local girls, like Dawn (Sophia Bairley), who thinks his overly-demonstrative mother is "nice" (she finds her own hippie-dippy mom more embarrassing). For the Marino men, these creative pursuits help them to feel useful rather than helpless. Produced by Bruce Beresford ( Tender Mercies) and George Hickenlooper ( Factory Girl), Joseph Greco's semi-autobiographical debut has the soft-edged camera work and generic guitar score of a Lifetime movie (it begins with seagulls flying in slow motion). Fortunately, above-average-acting--particularly from Pantoliano--and a non-melodramatic approach to a usually-sensationalized subject win out in the end. It’s an emotionally true look at an all-too-common dilemma. --Kathleen C. Fennessy