Albee and Walker met as children growing up in foster care. They married at age 16 to escape a terrible situation, and now, 7 years later, they’re on the verge of divorce. Albee (Amber Midthunder) has all but checked out, but agreed to spend one last weekend away to work through a marriage workbook and see what can be salvaged. Walker (Taylor Gray) hopes their relationship can be saved, but Albee isn’t even sure they ever loved each other so much as needed each other to build more stable lives. They’re committed to brutal honesty this weekend, but neither is really prepared to hear it.
Meanwhile, the couple who run the B&B where Albee and Walker are staying are having problems by osmosis. Planning to wed in just a couple of weeks, Ben (Nelson Lee) and Carly (Bethany Anne Lind) are tip-toeing around the their unstable guests, trying to avoid the awkwardness of witnessing a marriage disintegrate in their guest house. But as Albee and Walker tackle the issues suggested in the book, it begins to reveal cracks in Ben and Carly’s relationship as well. This weekend is going to be very hard on love.
Midthunder plays cruel and bitchy exceedingly well, her only displays of affection reserved for her phone. Gray is adorable like a kitten; it’s inconceivable that anyone should abandon him. It makes for an uncomfortable balance. Lind adds an interesting extra dimension to some already complicated dynamics. Love is hard. Love is very hard. Are any of these couples willing to do the work?
The Wheel is a wonderful little indie that I found quite charming, exceeding my expectations in the best possible way.
The Wheel is an official selection of TIFF 2021.