He shoots, he sings! Michael McGowan’s Score: A Hockey Musical is a playful and joyously entertaining charmer of a film. Uniting Canada’s national obsession with the overnight success stories of the classic Hollywood musicals, this is Hockey Night in Busby Berkeley Land. Boasting young love, on-ice drama and cameos that range from Olivia Newton-John to Nelly Furtado to some surprises from Canadian icons, McGowan’s latest is a playful delight.
Tender-hearted Farley (Noah Reid) lives a carefree but sheltered life. Homeschooled by his organic-loving, New Age parents (Newton-John and Marc Jordan), his greatest pleasures are palling around with his lifelong best friend Eve (Allie MacDonald) and playing endless rounds of outdoor hockey with the local rink rats. When the eccentric owner of a junior league hockey team (Stephen McHattie) sees Farley for the talent that he is, Farley quickly takes the league by storm, turning his once idyllic life upside down.
An overnight sensation, he becomes swept up in endorsement deals and media attention. But when he refuses to fight in a game, Farley quickly learns that organized hockey is less like child’s play and more like the Old West, where defending one’s honour takes precedence over speed, skill and talent. When his hockey star career begins to threaten his bond with Eve, Farley must find a song in his heart that matches the tempo of his tumultuous new life.
As he did in his Festival and box office hit One Week, McGowan integrates iconic elements of Canadiana into his winning story with flair and passion. More than just a hockey musical, Score is a wry celebration of the qualities that define Canadians – kindness, worldliness, self-effacement and an ability to poke fun at ourselves. From its opening montage of shinny through the ages to the rousing closing number, Score: A Hockey Musical may be the most unabashedly populist Canadian film to come along in years. Game on! –TIFF