September 14, 2012
The Shape of Rex begins with Rose, a married woman in her late thirties, visiting her old, married boyfriend Rex for the first time in over twenty years to tell him, finally, that he is the father of her daughter. Written, directed, and produced by Layne Coleman and William Hominuke, the film follows the events that are triggered by that visit, coupled with a parallel recounting of their coming-of-age love story in the 1980s. But the plot also is as much about Rex’s desires to live by the dictates of his heart as it is about the fate of everyman who dares to pursue his untameable passions in a world that chastises non-conformity.
Rex and Rose (Ryan Hollyman and Monica Dotter, who also happen to be a married couple in real life) are married to others, but their marriages are rocked when they fall into an illicit affair based upon the long-suppressed and unresolved issues of their youthful romance. In a parallel story set in the mid 1980s, young Rex and Rose (Vivien Endicott-Douglas and Brett Donahue) are teenage lovers who bare their souls in a confessional ritual just before being irreparably torn apart by a raging father (J.D. Nicholsen).
What mature Rex’s wife (Aviva Armour-Ostroff) understands that Rex does not is that while he appears to have found incredible sex in mid-life, though not with her, his love for Rose may be delusional. And though Rose may be repressed by her gender and background she still has a legitimate need to reveal herself to Rex again. But to run off and leave behind her loving husband (Lorne Cardinal) may be more of a sacrifice than she is willing to make. What Rose and Rex both fail to consider sufficiently is whether or not an email ever can remain completely private.
This is a story about the nature of love, about people who love each other in ways that cannot be reciprocated. The issue throughout is whether or not Rex and Rose ought to try to complete the arc of their teenage love, one that under other circumstances might have lasted forever.