Why wouldn’t a child of divorce remember his youth as a horror film? You have the responsible parent languishing in the midst of an in-progress home as she struggles to remake her life and the unpredictable “cool” parent who gets to shirk his duties and simply provide fun for two days in a bachelor pad decked out with everything no middle-aged man needs. And then come Mom and Dad’s “friends”—the formidable father figure replacement looking to horn in on your monopoly of maternal warmth and the out-of-nowhere mother figure seeking to destroy the rule-free sojourns into tech-heavy playtime. The abode that feels empty becomes a prison with a monster coming and going freely while the shelter that feels like a vacation teeters on the edge of oblivion.
Writer/director Trevor Jimenez renders this surreal nightmare in 1980s Toronto with a crudely beautiful hand, the scrawled lines providing character and spontaneity once the young boy at its center can no longer stop his mind from conjuring the worst. His instincts are sound, though. He sees Mom’s new boyfriend’s inherent sense of oppressive ownership and Dad’s new girlfriend’s sudden appearance as a harbinger of the end. Jimenez shows Mom’s maturity in trying to be civil and Dad’s brattiness in rebuking each attempt. We wonder why they separated only briefly before clichés arise to ensure the reasons are made inconsequential. One yearned for adulthood while the other clung to youth. One was strong and yet positioned to be let down, the other destined to remain weak and forever untrustworthy.
Weekends thus sends us into the formative mind of a child in conflict watching as his world is shattered and than pieced back together without his input. He sees life with Mom as a challenge with opportunities for rough days and time with Dad as a reprieve to do whatever he wants devoid of consequences. So it’s only when each brings a third wheel to the equation that we can begin to understand where their allegiances lie and which of those lives was the start of something real and which the end of a flimsy façade that couldn’t last. This is tough subject matter for a child and Jimenez isn’t about to sanitize it with bright colors or happy endings that are anything short of melancholy at best.
Eventually this boy’s footing will stabilize, but the floor may not be the one he hoped to find or expected to prove victorious. Dreams of a perfect family fade and the horrors of uncertainty get replaced by the tragedy of reality. We become drawn to the gradual evolution and devolution of the rooms that define these adults, watching as cracks are filled and widened depending on which home we’re in. Heroes who’ve refused to repeat destructive patterns inevitably vanquish monsters and children find their guardian whether it is son with mother or husband with wife. In the end everyone is trying to find happiness. Some take shortcuts and others put in the work. And the boy in the middle must wait to see which is which.