‘Suze’ is an Outstanding Film That Just Happens to be Canadian

Synopsis: When her only daughter goes off to university, an empty-nest mother gets stuck taking care of her daughter’s heartbroken ex-boyfriend, whom she can’t stand.
Director: Dane Clark, Linsey Stewart
Stars: Michaela Watkins, Sara Waisglass, Charlie Gillespie, Aaron Ashmore

You don’t know what you don’t know. We didn’t know how great of an actress Vanessa Kirby was until Pieces of a Woman, and we didn’t realize how great of a director Jordan Peele was until Get Out. Although they are both good, sometimes the right project truly showcases a person’s abilities.

I didn’t realize how great of an actress Michaela Watkins is until I saw Suze. Now, she has had great supporting roles, including appearances in You Hurt My Feelings and Curb Your Enthusiasm and her over 135 IMDB credits ensure that her face is recognizable. If her name doesn’t sound familiar, a quick Google search will provide an “Oh, I recognize her!” reaction.

In her most recent project, Watkins plays Susan or Suze, who has just found her husband cheating on her in their swimming pool with a golf pro. Fast forward five years, and she is a single mother living with her soon-to-graduate high school daughter Brooke (Sara Waisglass). Brooke is accustomed to getting everything she wants from her mother, and on the rare occasion Suze puts up any resistance, Brooke is quick to remind her mother that she ‘can go live with dad.’

Suze is not a fan of Brooke’s boyfriend, Gage (Charles Gillespie), who is something of a free spirit without a plan or a high school diploma. He’s not a parent’s dream, but much to Suze’s chagrin, he is embedded in their lives . . . literally. He is constantly popping up . . . and in their house.

With everything Suze does to make her daughter happy, it’s difficult when she finds out that Brooke is leaving to go away to school in Montreal — the source of the news makes it even harder to accept.

Suze is now alone in the house. She leaves countless voicemails for her daughter that go unacknowledged. Things take a turn when Brooke finally reaches out to her mother and asks her to check in on Gage, with whom she recently broke up. Gage has had an accident, and his father (Aaron Ashmore) asks if Gage can stay with Suze while he is out of town on business. Suze reluctantly accepts. Awkward!

Suze is now providing shelter to someone she’s not overly fond of. The things parents do for their children!

Written and directed by Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart, Suze is very entertaining. It is an outstanding film that just happens to be Canadian.

Michaela Watkins shines in this film. When we think of coming-of-age films, we tend to think of movies in the John Hughes universe, but this film is about a woman going through life changes. If pre-menopause isn’t enough to deal with, she has to compete with a moody daughter and her zany ex-boyfriend.

Watkins makes the character extremely relatable, and while all superheroes don’t wear capes, it is a great representation of women, many of whom will relate to Suze’s struggles. Watkins deserves more leading roles; hopefully, this performance will be the catalyst.

In 2024, many parents don’t want to say ‘No’ to their kids, and the reason for this may vary. For Suze, her world is centred around her daughter, a relationship explored through the fantastic script.

Charlie Gillespie also shines in the film. Gage’s carefree attitude balances out Suze’s buttoned-up lifestyle, and the two play off each other well. He brings a lot of humour to the film but also some touching moments.

The on-screen chemistry of Watkins and Gillespie is infectious. They elevate the characters Suze and Gage and explore a dynamic that we don’t usually see on screen . . . not like this. This is proof that two actors can make each other better on screen.

Grade: B+

Watch Keith’s interview with Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart:

Watch the movie trailer: