The Drawer Boy (Draw-er, as in, a boy who draws) is an adaptation of Michael Healey’s 1999 play about Miles (Jakob Ehman), a traveling actor who shows up at a farm owned by Angus (Stuart Hughes) and Morgan (Richard Clarkin) with the hopes of staying in their house, helping around the farm and learning what it’s like to be a rural Canadian.
Angus takes care of most of the work as well as Morgan, who has severe short-term memory loss. As Miles learns the ebb and flow of a farmer’s life, he also begins to uncover the tragic story that led to Morgan’s condition.
To director Arturor Perez Torres’ credit, The Drawer Boy captures the staging and performances you’d expect from a stage production without sacrificing opportunities afforded by the cinematic lens. It’s a beautifully shot movie. There’s a tendency for stage-to-film adaptations to sometimes come across as something stuck between the two mediums in a way that satisfies neither. That’s not the case here.
Most fundamentally it lands the message that art is a valuable tool for contextualizing and transcending pain. The nature of Morgan’s memory loss comes from deeply repressed trauma. Miles starts the movie as something of a know-nothing artist type, eager to use his gifts to save the world. By the end he comes to realize that he is only capable of so much, but that through art he can give others release.
Showtimes and Tickets for The Drawer Boy can be purchased here