Kristin Booth plays a young agoraphobe in ‘At Home By Myself…With You.’
One of two micro-budgeted Canadian movies playing the Royal this week (the other is Zooey & Adam), At Home By Myself … With You has already earned some attention due to its director’s unique efforts to get the money to make it.
Unlucky with the various funding agencies, Toronto filmmaker Kris Booth went with metaphorical hat in hand to friends, colleagues and strangers. A Facebook page named “I’m Making a Movie With Pocket Change” aided his campaign. After raising $42,000, he set to work on this debut feature with a similarly plucky group of local actors.
Like so many Canadian filmmakers who’ve had to operate under severe budget constraints, Booth has limited the number of locations needed for his production to one (hey, it worked for Vincenzo Natali with Cube).
In this case, it’s the brightly coloured apartment home of Romy (Kristin Booth, no relation to the director), a young agoraphobe who has not left her place in six years.
It’s easy to see why she believes that “bad things happen” when she goes outside, seeing as previous excursions led to the tragic deaths of her parents, her first boyfriend and her dog. They also inspired the other phobias (e.g., lobsters, opening boxes) that add further complications to her daily life and her career as a travel agent.
Romy clearly needs a reason to change and he arrives in the form of a handsome new neighbour who coyly refuses to tell her his name. Shenanigans ensue as they try to cope with each other’s many foibles.
All romantic comedies thrive or wither based on the quality of the obstacles that stand between the would-be lovers and their goal of conjugal bliss. Unfortunately, the obstacles in At Home By Myself … With You are too silly and thinly conceived. As a result, the people on screen often seem like walking, talking collections of cute quirks rather than characters worth caring about.
Yet the film does have its charms, largely thanks to its cast. Equally adept at light comic roles and more harrowing turns, Kristin Booth was a standout performer in two other recent Toronto indies, This Beautiful City and Young People F***ing. The latter also featured a fun performance by Aaron Abrams, her co-star here.
As for their castmates, Shauna MacDonald and Canadian stage veteran Rosemary Dunsmore make the most of smaller parts while Gordon Pinsent serves as the tale’s narrator.
Though Pinsent’s voiceover and several animated interludes up the whimsy factor to dangerously high levels, the lively performances make At Home By Myself … With Youworth a trip outside your own home.