Family drama April in Autumn is true to life with its ambiguous ending

Chris Knight: The meandering nature of the screenplay suggests that all of the threads will get knotted together. But the film takes a welcome jog near the end

Caitlyn Sponheimer in April in Autumn. Raging River Pictures

Share Adjust Comment Print

Simple and sweet if a little open-ended, April in Autumn is a small family drama shot in Toronto – in the autumn, no less! Caitlyn Sponheimer, who also has a co-writing credit, stars as April, a young woman who’s recently returned to the city after bouncing around Asia, teaching and exploring.

Back home, she reconnects with younger sister Sara (Elizabeth Stuart-Morris), her mother, Eve (Sandra Pascuzzi), and Marc, an old flame played by director and co-writer Warren Sulatycky. But she also receives an offer of marriage from Oscar, a man she met on her travels. (The fact that the proposal comes by email suggests he’s maybe not the best husband material.)

The film sketches out a variety of subplots. Mom is suffering from some sort of mental illness, though it’s never defined. Sara meets a down-on-his-luck artist (Mike Sniezek) whom she impulsively calls Erik, after her favourite composer, Satie. And April finds a box of love letters and artwork buried in the back yard, which may or may not have been put there by their mother.

The meandering nature of the screenplay suggests that all of these threads will get knotted together, perhaps in the birthday party the daughters are planning for their mother. But the film takes a welcome jog near the end, for a resolution that may feel like a letdown to some. But fearing a tidy conclusion, I was happy for the ambiguity. Life’s like that.

3.5 stars

April in Autumn opens Oct. 18 in Toronto, Dec. 9 in Vancouver, and Dec. 20 in Calgary.

Comments