Canada Now: Sleeping Giant

Canada Now: Sleeping Giant
Sleeping Giant
Directed by Andrew Cividino
Starring Nick Serino, Reece Moffett, Jackson Martin, David Disher and Erika Brodzky
Screening as part of Canada Now Film Festival

by Joanna Orland

Sleeping Giant is filled with familiar tropes found in many coming-of-age films; but with masterful skill, director Andrew Cividino has produced a stylish, charming and empathetic debut feature.

There is a naturalistic element to Sleeping Giant which makes it stand apart from the typical ‘boys will be boys’ story. Newcomers Nick Serino and Reece Moffett are superb as Nate and Riley, the trouble-making cousins with matching Bieber hairstyles. You know from the opening scene that this film will not end well for at least one of the boys involved, as the cousins befriend the naive Adam (Jackson Martin), corrupting his innocence as they become fast friends over a summer spent in cottage country, Canada.

With a tone reminiscent of Hide Your Smiling Faces, the slow pace and verism of Sleeping Giant give it a bleak authenticity. By casting quite distinct young newcomers in two key roles, the mischievousness of summer youth is captured perfectly. With very little dialogue for Adam, his emotions are portrayed through longing looks and expert camera work to reveal his inner dialogue.

It’s not merely the roguishness of youth that Cividino captures so well in Sleeping Giants, but it is also the Canadian landscape and experience. As a Canadian myself, I can honestly say I recognize many of the characters in this film, or at least aspects of them, as well as the familiar lakeside setting where many summers are spent. Luckily I’ve never experienced similar tragedy to what’s depicted in this film, but still found much to gain from the familiarity of Adam and the cousins’ story.

Having won the award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, Sleeping Giant is a brilliant breakout for Cividino. I look forward to seeing what’s to come from this exciting new Canadian director.


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