Our protagonist in Maysville is being held back by such a terrible incident, it’s hard to understand how a movie can start after such a thing. As a filmmaker, you have a challenge where you have to follow a dramatic turning point that can redeem a character with such a heavy burden. Leslie Goyette achieves this goal with an ease that is not so common in today’s cinema. It’s not that they easily forget the events of the past. It’s just that sometimes it’s not so nice to move forward.
At least that’s what we get from Teddy Rogers, a boy who lost his best friend Willy in an accident that could have been prevented. Tormented by feelings of guilt, Teddy takes control of himself and everyone around him. Willie’s father, an abusive monster, kidnaps Teddy and takes him with him. His mother is desperately trying to prevent this, but Teddy’s admission is difficult to overcome.
Years go by, and Teddy is still in the spirit of an abusive relationship. Hard work and roughness are part of his daily life until he decides that enough is enough. He flees to the city of Maysville, where he finds love and an honest job. However, it is difficult to let go of inner demons. Teddy’s burden is not gone, and when people from his past appear, he decides to face them once and for all.
This coming-of-age film is full of emotional upheavals and a melodramatic crossroads. That’s exactly how a movie like this should go. However, Maysville is also playing in a different territory, which is as peril as it is dissonant with the genre. Or at least it seems so. Goyette is crucial with her approach to making Maysville a slow-paced thriller that is never superfluous when it comes to using the patterns of this genre. It’s just that Teddy’s character demands this, and the director trusts him enough to focus the film on something more exciting than you might expect.
Without the services themselves, it would not work. From Forrest Campbell as Willy to Brian Sutherland as Buck, Willy’s father. They are surprisingly precise in performances that are not quite reminiscent of indie cinema. You owe that to a good director. But Kevin Mayr’s chance, in the end, is to enjoy it. The young actress accepts her role in an organic, almost too sincere way. When the film enters its third act and his character asks for a change in his subject, Mayr takes control of every scene he appears in.
Maysville starts as an innocent story and darkly turns the tables into something darker and more gloomy. But Goyette takes the story and urges the protagonist to find justice if he has to. At least she doesn’t overdo it with the play, so Maysville deviates from a boring formal venue. She really lets go and breaks expectations. When the third act comes and the film delivers its final twist, you’ll see what I mean.
Set in the Appalachian Mountains, Maysville is an honest portrayal of a story with a moral upheaval that strays away from the complexity of the character. It’s pretty simple if you think about it. It is a story of growing up in the midst of hardship and disaster. But it’s also a compelling film about being able to forgive what seems unpredictable.
In Maysville, you feel things like in movies from back then. I don’t know Goyette’s intention with the script, but if that’s what she was aiming for, she’s a winner, and I want to see what she’s going to do next.