FIN FEST REVIEW: Swearing Jar a romance that will encompass viewers

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I sat down for a late-night showing of romantic drama The Swearing Jar.

With an intentionally-vague premise, all I had heard was it was about a woman who finds true, cosmic love. In fact, she finds her soulmate twice, and becomes filled with conflict because of it.

What this movie gave me was a tale of sadness, regret, romance and intensity that I couldn’t have ever expected. The Swearing Jar is one of those little gems that comes along once every five years, and leaves you bewildered in the best way.

Director Lindsay MacKay was on-hand in Halifax to introduce the film, and I only wish I’d seen her afterwards to tell her just how much this little indie affected me.

A crowd of only 20 or so converged for it, hardly a reflection of the quality of the film, but evidence that counter-programming sometimes leaves spectacular content lost in the shuffle.

Those of us who did seek this one out laughed, cried and were genuinely surprised, and many will be kicking themselves they couldn’t have caught it on a big screen with a festival audience. The Swearing Jar is an intimate story that I couldn’t help but get lost in.

Lead Adelaide Clemens – enjoying the spotlight for her role in Emmy-nominated series Under The Banner of Heaven – plays Carey, and anchors an incredible film with a perfect ensemble. Suits star Patrick J. Adams plays her husband, and Kathleen Turner gives her best performance in years as well-to-do but snarky mother-in-law Bev.

Perhaps most surprising is Douglas Smith (known for Big Love and Big Little Lies), who has terrific charisma and effortless chemistry with Clemens. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this young star.

I truly can’t describe the plot, because I want you to see it with as little context as possible. Don’t see a trailer, nor a clip, or anything else. This is one where the element of surprise can make this experience even more awe-inspiring.

This is a film I absolutely cherished, and it will go down this year as the best film FIN audiences didn’t manage to see. When it hits theatres and streaming, you simply need to seek out The Swearing Jar.

4.5/5 Stars

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