A ChucksConnection Film Review

Ryan Grantham wears black high top Converse “Chuck Taylor” All Stars in the film.

Considering Love and Other Magic

by Hal Peterson


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Jessie meets up with Tommy in Considering Love and Other Magic.

Considering Love and Other Magic is the story of two teenagers with issues in their lives. First we are introduced to Jessie (Maddie Philips). As a young girl she accidentally fell off the porch of a three story apartment building while chasing a balloon at a birthday party. Amazingly she survived the fall with minimal injuries but the concept that you can survive a life threatening accident has had an impact on her life. In the present, seventeen-year-old Jessie and her parents (Darcy Fehr, Nancy Sorel) are dealing with the very unexpected suicide of her younger brother Eli. Their family life has become quite dysfunctional as each of them blame themselves for allowing the suicide to occur, and are having difficulties with the grieving process. Jessie is seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis to deal with her guilt, which has caused her to shut out most of the world. She has changed her appearance, surrounding her eyes with black mascara and wearing baggy clothing. She only has one friend at school, Bridget (Montana Lehrman), and when Steven (Rory J. Saper), a classmate approaches her to become friends, she blows him off at first. Luckily for Jessie, Bridget is persistent about keeping her on track. Knowing that Jessie is failing her classes (from lack of work not lack of ability), she persuades her to become a tutor because it will earn her extra credit. And Bridget tells Jessie to let “dreamboat Steven” be her science lab partner which helps encourage their friendship and improve her grade.

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Jessie and Tommy playing a game in the mansion.

We meet the other main character of the film as a result of Jessie’s first assignment as a tutor. Tommy Faber (Ryan Grantham) is a fourteen-year-old boy who is currently living with his grandmother Veronica Guest (Sheila McCarthy) in her large mansion. Veronica was a famous author back in the 1950s and still writes on a daily basis using an old fashioned manual typewriter. Tommy tells Jessie that he is actually a fictional creation of Veronica from 1952, and that he, along with his Uncle Jasper (Eric McCormack), another fictional creation of Veronica, can never leave her house. Yet Tommy is a real living person, clearly a teenager from his head down to his black high top chucks. When she asks to see his math books, he shows her books printed in the 1940’s. When she asks Tommy, “Isn’t your life really boring?” he replies that his life is based on what Veronica writes down and that she has promised to give him a new set of adventures in her next book. Not knowing what to make of a young teen who claims to be over 70 and spends his life confined to his grandmother’s mansion, Jessie first seems ready to bail on this assignment. But Tommy is so unassuming and nice that Jessie becomes intrigued with him, and she begins to see things as a challenge: can she understand what makes Tommy a recluse and can she succeed in making Tommy into a normal teenager? Tommy resolves to provide Jessie with some adventures, but they don’t always succeed.

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Steve and Bridget are concerned about Jessie.

The story line in this film is constantly moving back and forth through the several character situations, Jessie’s relationship with her parents, Jessie’s developing romance with Steven, Jessie’s relationship with Tommy, and Tommy’s relationship with his grandmother, Uncle Jasper and his real family history. Like Jessie, Tommy clearly has a number of family issues contributing to his reclusive behavior. What is the truth about Tommy and his Uncle Jasper? Are they fact or fiction? Eventually the story threads start to overlap, as Steven is curious about Tommy and his situation, and Tommy’s real father (Karl Thordarson) wants to meet with Jessie’s parents, and everyone wants to meet the elusive Uncle Jasper, who we discover can only be seen by Tommy. There are some interesting turns and twists in the story lines that affect all the characters in this film as things start to make more sense in its second half.


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Tommy and Uncle Jasper stare at the outside world.


Canadian writer and director Dave Schultz creates an interesting dynamic in Considering Love and Other Magic with the premise that when two dysfunctional situations intersect, the result can be good for all parties. Sure there is some craziness in these characters, but in the long run, honesty and maturity rule the day. There are dramatic moments to be sure, but the situations are handled in a gentle manner aided by the monologues of Jessie in different scenes that diffuses the pain. Both Maddie Philips as Jessie and Ryan Grantham as Tommy give terrific performances in this film, which is well cast, especially the other teenagers in Jessie’s life. Montana Lehrman as best friend Bridget and Rory as new boyfriend Steven provide Jessie (and the viewers) with assurances that there are people out there who care and can provide support at a time of crisis. The adult characters provide us with a range of emotions: Sheila McCarthy as the veteran novelist who wants to protect Tommy at all costs and brings in Jessie to tutor him in math and science, Maria Kost as Jessie’s quirky psychologist Dr. Pippin, Eric McCormack as Tommy’s Uncle Jasper, the stereotyped pulp fiction hero ranting against youth and modern culture, Karl Thordarson as Tommy’s real father, frustrated by his lack of success in reconnecting with his son, Darcy Fehr as Jessie’s father Roger, desperately trying to hold his family together after his son’s suicide, and Nancy Sorel as Jessie’s mother Linda, unable to cope with the suicide of her son Eli, still cooking meals with his favorite food and washing his clothes as if he were still alive. All of that angst could overpower the tone of the film, but by letting the teenagers be their normal selves and letting them work things out in the long run, a positive message is provided without a lot of preaching.

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Tommy races through the corridors of Jessie’s school.

Best Chucks Scene

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Close up 1 of Tommy’s chucks as he climbs the ladder to the top floor.

Tommy, played by Ryan Grantham, wears black high top chucks during most of the scenes in the film. If Tommy is to be believed, he has been wearing this pair since the 1950’s. The best scene showing them is when he and Jessie are on an “adventure” inside the mansion, traveling through hidden passageways and climbing ladders.

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Close up 2 of Tommy’s chucks as he climbs the ladder to the top floor.

Considering Love and Other Magic. (2016) Maddie Phillips, Ryan Grantham, Sheila McCarthy, Eric McCormack, Montana Lehrman, Karl Thordarson, Darcy Fehr, Nancy Sorel, Maria Kost, Rory J. Saper.
Written and directed by Dave Schultz. Categories: Drama, Teenagers, Family.
ChucksConnection Rating: 3 chucks rating MPAA Rating: NR, would be PG

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