In our Four Films series we pick a theme and examine four different kinds of films on that theme. Today, Curling – stories in which curling, the sport, play a essential part in the plot of a film.
Curling doesn’t get much representation on the big screen, which isn’t exactly surprising considering its relatively low popularity when compared with other sports. There are, however, a few films which features curling, and even a couple that centres on it.
My Life So Far
We begin this feature with Hugh Hudson’s My Life So Far, a British-American co-production starring Colin Firth, based on the memoirs of Denis Forman. The story, set in the late 1920s, details the lives of the Pettigrew family as they go about their daily business on their estate in Scotland. Our primary figure is a precocious 10-year-old named Fraser, who spends his days reading books that are far beyond his years. Whether you find the picture endearing or insubstantial will depend on how you feel about this character, and unfortunately I found him to be an insufferable little cretin. Of all the movies in this list, this has the least to do with curling, but there is one pivotal scene involving the game that does change the course of the narrative.
Men with Brooms
Men with Brooms is perhaps the most high-profile curling movie available today. Directed and starring Paul Gross, this Canadian film tells your typical sporting comeback story of a disgraced team entering a tournament and prevailing against all the odds. Although not without some superficial charm, it’ll be fair to say it’s pretty mediocre all around; from the direction, to the acting, to the script. And despite Molly Parker being far and away the best thing in it, the romantic comedy side of the story felt terribly mishandled. However, if you do want to watch an English-language curing movie, this would probably have to be it for now.
The snowy wilderness of Quebec is the setting for Denis Côté’s beguiling Canadian drama about a solitary father and his relationship with his 12-year-old daughter. Though Curling initially appears to be a simple father-daughter story, the horrific discovery of corpses outside their home shows there is something dark and mysterious lurking beneath the surface of this strange and undeniably intriguing film. Despite its title, curling actually features very little in this picture. Instead, the sport is almost used as a metaphor, as a symbol of escape that Jean-François (Emmanuel Bilodeau), the father, fantasises about.
Our last film in this feature is Kong Curling (also known as Curling King), Ole Endresen’s quirky take on the archetypal underdog story. The plot, somewhat similar to Men with Brooms but with an extra Norwegian twist, tells the story of an obsessive-compulsive (Atle Antonsen) who, after suffering a mental breakdown, decides to mount a comeback many years later. Like with a lot of Scandinavian cinema, the movie has a wonderful deadpan humour that is complimented by an incredible pastel colour scheme – like a cross between an Aki Kaurismäki and a Wes Anderson. It’s very funny, uniquely charming and utterly bizarre. Of all the curling films available, this is certainly the one to see.