DVD/Stream of the Week: CLOUDBURST

Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker in CLOUDBURST

The funny and sentimental Canadian dramedy Cloudburst pairs Oscar-winning actresses Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck) and Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) as lesbian life partners of many decades. Because they live in Maine before the legalization of same-sex marriage there, their union is not legally recognized. The sweet-tempered Dotty (Fricker) is visually-impaired and becoming more and more infirm. Her partner Stella (Dukakis) is irascible and enjoys a startlingly vulgar vocabulary. The pair is separated when Dotty’s granddaughter moves Dotty into a convalescent home over Stella’s objection. Stella rescues Dotty and spirits the two of them off to get legally married in Nova Scotia. On the run from Maine authorities, they pick up a feckless young guy (Ryan Doucette) and head off on a very funny, and sometimes dangerous, road trip.

Cloudburst is directed and written by Thom Fitzgerald from his own play. Fitzgerald has written wonderful characters for Dukakis and Fricker to play, and their performances are superb. Surprisingly, this is the first lead role for the 68-year-old Fricker.

Cloudburst was an indie hit in Canadian theaters, but was purchased by Lifetime and didn’t get a theatrical release in the US. That’s a shame, because I think that Cloudburst could have become an art house hit like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s a crowd pleaser.

Cloudburst is available on DVD from Netflix and streaming from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video , iTunes, Vudu and Xbox Video.

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