Joyce Wong makes an soberingly poignant debut with Wexford Plaza, about an overweight white 20 year old girl name Betty who takes a job as a security guard at a strip mall. Betty meets Danny, a Filipino male bartender, and through her attraction for him and a sexual misunderstanding, both Danny and Betty derail their lives even further.
Wexford Plaza does an excellent job at portraying the realities of online dating, dead end jobs, the struggles of getting a job without a degree and sexual misunderstandings, while using the location of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada as the perfect place to display those struggles. With its cracked roads, desperate plazas and characterless single homes, bringing familiarity to people from Toronto and outside of it.
Joyce Wong naturally understands the boredom of an Ontario summer in your early 20s and the hopeful yet surrendering of morals as a female trying to find love under the thumb of an unfair beauty standard. As well as the pointless pride of male culture and the pressure of a ethnic point of view to succeed above and beyond.
Wexford Plaza places every plot point of it’s story so carefully, thoroughly yet succinctly that when moments hit, its crushing and dragging with how real everything feels without music or over exposure. Presented in a style only to be described as a reality based Canadian “Memento”.
Though forced at parts Reid Asselstine does a self depreciating brave job as Betty. Playing her meek yet real and what happens to her during this film is beyond depressing. Darrel Gamontin is poignant as Danny, expressing his struggle to pretend and stay pretending and keep who he really is hidden to most yet barely succeeding.
Wexford Plaza has no problem being awkward, being gritty and all while just being human and giving a voice to people without one and who are too shy to share theirs anyway and is the best Canadian film of 2017 and one of the best of 2017, and with that it’s a must see.
Keep a look out for Joyce Wong.