Perhaps it’s something about living in lockdown, but I can’t help but fall for stunning cinematography and colorful sets. Don’t worry, this one also has substance in spades. Sexual awakening can happen at any age, and in this movie when it happens to our middle-age protagonist, it’s treated with care and respect. The movie never attempts to shame her or use it as fodder for cheap comedy. This one is a film that will make you smile with a tear in your eye.

(Source: Fantasia Film Festival)

Marygoround was directed by Daria Woszek who also wrote it along with Sylwester Piechura and Aleksandra Swierk. Mary (Grazyna Misiorowska) just turned 50 and gets told she’s going through menopause and must start hormone therapy. She works as a cashier at a small grocery store where her boss Bogdan (Janusz Chabior) flirts with the female customers and her younger colleague Cicha (Barbara Kurzaj) rarely does any work. One night her niece Helena (Helena Sujecka) drops in looking for a place to stay after another failed relationship. As Mary starts her treatment, she starts feeling something awaken in herself, discovering a new flare for life and her sexual identity.

The film brings us into Mary’s world first as she seems to live her life in lethargy and starts gradually opening up. She tends to hoard religious figures and paintings around the house, but the over-abundance of colors in all sets is what seems to reveal a hidden zeal for life and a more extravagant attitude that might be more mystical than physical. The awakening is not without drawbacks as hallucinations and hypersensitive emotions appear, making her confused and even inviting danger into her home. It does have dark comedic moments more than laugh-out-loud scenarios, but they’re all conducive to Mary discovering herself.

Strongly recommended. A coming-of-age experience can happen at any age and Mary has just discovered a joy to live her life. The cinematography by Michal Pukowiec is colorful and theatrical. The performance by Grazyna Misiorowska as Mary shines throughout. I also love how this movie treats middle-age people as alive, quirky and fascinating to watch. Youth may be king, but there’s no shame in living life up at any age.

Update: This film won Fantasia’s Cheval Noir for Best Film, Best Director for Daria Woszek and Best Actress for Grazyna Misiorowska.

That will do for now.