My Sailor, My Love tells the story of Howard (James Cosmo), a widowed father who lives alone. Although he’s cared for by his daughter, Grace (Catherine Walker), Howard is miserable and difficult to manage. Appalled by his living conditions, Grace hires Annie (Brid Brennan), a local widow, to serve as his caregiver, despite Howard’s wishes. Although Howard is cantankerous towards his houseguest, Annie remains strong-willed and the two begin to grow closer, causing tension with an envious Grace.
Led by stunning performances, My Sailor, My Love is a sweeping romance with a dark side. Written and directed by Klaus Haro, the story is relatively simple yet also manages to maintain the complexity of its relationships. Even so, despite some wonderful writing, the film works primarily due to the strength of its cast. Although My Sailor is anchored by some inspired work from Cosmo and Brennan, this is truly an ensemble piece where every player has their moment to shine. As a result, one cannot help but be swept up in the film’s infectious joy, even in its moments of profound sadness.
My Sailor is very much a film about new beginnings, especially when our past carries so much hurt. Without giving any spoilers, Howard’s failures as a father and husband have led to a chasm between himself and his daughter that seems impossible to bridge. (“One day, you return home and there’s no Grace [waiting] at the gate,” he mourns.) As a result, Howard’s deficiencies with Grace has left their relationship broken. Neither are willing to deal with their pain and are losing a piece of their souls in the process.
Beautiful and sweeping, there’s a heart-beat of hope within My Sailor, My Love that sails beyond romance. Instead, this is a heart-wrenching piece that understands that the pain of our past matters but it’s never too late to heal.
My Sailor, My Love is now playing at TIFF ’22. For screening information, click here.