In Great Great Great, Lauren (Sarah Kolasky) plods along in her boring – but comfortable – relationship with Tom. When she learns of her parents’ impending divorce, she starts to unravel and wonders if she too could do better. So she starts to plan a wedding with Tom, while falling into a torrid affair with her boss. The whole thing predictably implodes, and Lauren is left with the possibility that she may have lost (or gained?) everything.
We caught up with Sarah Kolasky, who co-wrote and stars in the film.
SDTC: Where’d you get the idea?
Adam Garnet Jones (co-writer and director) and I had both come out of long-term relationships in our twenties that had both ended by our own hand. We were also talking to other people who were in their early thirties who were either committing to marriage or throwing it out the window.
We were really interested in exploring why that happens. We thought it would be really interesting to have a character pursue both those paths at once. It makes people really uncomfortable, because I think it’s something a lot of people think about. Should I stay with this person, or could I do better? It’s not a conversation you really have with your partner.
Is sliding into malaise inevitable in long-term relationships?
I am currently single, so when I meet people who are in long-term relationships who still feel super-passionate about each other, I admire that. But I personally don’t know what the secret is. I know I’m not the kind of person who would be able to deal with an open relationship either. It’s kind of like finding some sort of balance between committing and still feeling satisfied and like you can still grow and change along with that person. I hope I find that.
What have reactions been like?
I’m curious to talk to people about how they feel about Lauren. People in their mid- to late-forties who have seen the film often thought it was funny, because they had that distance from what Lauren is going through. They remembered that time in their lives when they didn’t know what they were doing and didn’t know what the right choice was.
But then we had another crew member come up to us and say, “I just wanted to ask you, what the fuck is up with her?” He just didn’t get it. We intentionally didn’t explain everything in the film. I want the film to engage people in a dialogue about this type of female protagonist. I feel like when people in their twenties and early thirties watch it, it makes them uncomfortable.
What were your influences?
I really love the show Girls. I don’t agree with everything Lena Dunham says, but her show really inspired me and made me feel I could make a film about a very complex, imperfect woman. The tone of that show – raw, honest and awkward – was a big influence for us. And Adam and I both really love Miranda July. And the author Sheila Heti. We both read How Should A Person Be, so a lot of themes in her writing were swirling around in our heads when we were developing the script.
I think it was really important for me to take creative risks. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so I had to learn to shove that perfectionist voice out of my head, to let go and to not be scared…to be messy and make mistakes, because you can find really beautiful moments sometimes in a performance when you’re present and engaging with the other actors.
Why was it important for you to showcase the west end of Toronto?
From a practical standpoint, we had very limited resources to make the film. We knew we just had to use the resources we had access to. My apartment in the film was Adam’s apartment at the time. We had equipment falling out of the cupboard – it was tight.
I’m a really hardcore west-ender. I grew up in Parkdale. Adam has moved to the east end (a betrayal!) and because the story was inspired by our own and our friends’ experiences, it just seemed so right to set it in the city where we live. There’s so much beauty in the hard, industrial edges of the west end – the Junction, and Roncesvalles. Our cinematographer made it look beautiful.