When I founded Voices from The Balcony, it was intended to be a site for all genres of film. Of course, it has become primarily a horror site due to constraints of time, and that’s generally what I watch and get offered for review. So it’s nice when I can review something like RANDY’S CANVAS for a change.
Randy (Adam Carbone, ANOTHER TANGO) is a high functioning autistic. He lives with his brother Henry (Michael Emery, CORBIN NASH) and works as a janitor at a local art gallery. He likes his job and enjoys discussing art with Bob, the security guard (John Petrella).
He’s also an aspiring artist. And when Bob gets a look at his work, he impulsively hangs it in the gallery. Something that gets them both fired. But it leads to Randy getting a chance to study under a famous art teacher Professor Hausdorff (Richard Riehle, WEST OF HELL, BAD APPLES)
He also develops a crush on fellow student Sienna (Marycarmen Lopez, TRAGEDY GIRLS). This is the first time he’s had feelings like that for anyone. Now he has to struggle not only with the new experience and demands of higher education but also with his emotions. He does have Cassie (Scout Taylor-Compton HALLOWEEN, GETAWAY) to help him sort them out, but ultimately he’ll need to find his own inner strength if he wants to succeed.
Director Sean Michael Beyer (RESURRECTION MARY) has crafted an enjoyably sweet film out of a plot that easily could have drowned in sugar and clichés. The key is that he and his co-writers didn’t make this a film about autism. They made it about a young man with a chance to reach for his dreams. The fact he has autism is just one of the issues he has to deal with.
The cast does well with their roles. Possibly because several of them have worked with Beyer previously, several times in some cases. Thankfully, they avoid the temptation to overplay the film’s more melodramatic scenes. Emery especially stands out as the supportive brother who’s hard to make his own sacrifices along the way.
Add in some nice New England locations, (it was shot in and around Providence, RI), that had me feeling a bit homesick and RANDY’S CANVAS is a solid choice for an afternoon’s watch.
RANDY’S CANVAS is available on DVD/VOD from Vision Films.