Drinkwater Parent Guide
This is a 1980s nostalgia trip, wrapped up in Canadiana.
Parent Movie Review
Mike Drinkwater (Daniel Doheny) is an awkward, friendless teen just trying to survive in a small town in British Columbia. His father, Hank (Eric McCormack), spends his time building a model city rather than paying attention to his son. He’s also fraudulently collecting disability checks so he’s focused on avoiding government investigators. At school, Mike is bullied by Luke Ryan (Jordan Burchett), son of Hank’s past rival, Wesley (Bob Frazer). When a new girl, Wallace (Louriza Tronco), moves in next door, Mike enlists her help to train for a 5k race in a bid to win a scholarship, and maybe beat Luke at something for once.
As a life-long Canadian, I have to first comment on just how aggressively Canadian this movie is. From the prevalence of hockey and Tim Horton’s to the accents and dialect, Drinkwater is Canadian through and through. My fellow compatriots will most likely appreciate this unabashed tribute to a country not seen on screen as much as you’d think, especially considering a surprising number of Hollywood productions actually film in the Great White North.
Drinkwater is a few things, aside from a display of Canadiana. It’s a quirky coming-of-age story, a reflection on grief and loss, and a love letter to 80s nostalgia. Although the story takes place in modern day, the 80s are everywhere, from Mike’s car, to his obsession with Bruce Lee, and even to the soundtrack, which is almost exclusively 80s hits. This all makes sense, seeing as the production is based off a Super-8 film that the studio owners shot in their senior year of high school in 1980, and the production is very aware of that fact.
Daniel Doheny’s performance is the biggest standout of the whole movie. He perfectly balances Mike’s awkward exterior with his pain-filled and hopeless interior. And his nuanced performance is echoed by the writing, which deftly moves between quirky comedy and realistic drama while keeping a consistent tone; something many films struggle to do. The emotional beats are powerful and relatable, while the humor, for the most part, is based on subtle situational moments, not outright jokes, which prevents the production from becoming a screwball comedy.
I really enjoyed this film. It felt to me as if Napoleon Dynamite and Lady Bird had a Canadian baby. That said, there are a few content concerns that make it unsuitable for children. There is a fair amount of swearing, though it stays almost entirely in the “mild” and “moderate” categories and there is some brief discussion around sexual topics, but it’s not very explicit. Our main character imbibes some “liquid courage” before a school dance, which causes him to greatly embarrass himself and hurt another student, so this scene of underage drinking has swift and obvious consequences. Depending on parental discretion, older teens would probably enjoy this realistic portrayal of issues that many teenagers can relate to, such as social awkwardness, loss, abandonment, anxiety, and coming into your own. For adult fans of quirky indie flicks, there’s a lot to enjoy here, especially if you have soft spot for 80s synth pop.Directed by Stephen S. Campanelli. Starring Daniel Doheny, Eric McCormack, and Jordan Burtchett. Running time: 112 minutes. Theatrical release September 27, 2021. Updated September 27, 2021
Rating & Content Info
Why is Drinkwater rated Not Rated? Drinkwater is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A boy accidently throws a frozen octopus at another man, which knocks him down. A boy is hit hard in the head with a dodgeball, which knocks him down. A girl is accidently kicked in the face, and she is later seen with a black eye.
Sexual Content: An adult man is seen in his underwear in a nonsexual context. A teen couple kiss. Two teens have a discussion about their respective virginity status, and one jokes about having had sex before but then reveals he never has.
Profanity: Around 35 mild and moderate expletives, 3 uses of terms of deity, and 1 extreme swear. Some mild insults such as “moron” and “idiot” are used as well.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man pours some whiskey into his coffee. A teenager drinks from a flask at a party to gain some courage. His slight intoxication leads to a hugely embarrassing event.
Page last updated September 27, 2021
Drinkwater Parents' Guide
Why does Hank treat Mike the way he does? What happened in the past that caused him to go down this path? How does he start to heal and grow in the course of the movie?
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