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Review: My Internship in Canada

By Danielle Kim, October 6 2015 —

With growing election buzz and an increased focus on the Canadian government, Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre (in English, My Internship in Canada) is a timely watch. Directed by Québécois film director Philipe Falardeau, the film follows a rural Quebec member of Parliament and his overly enthusiastic Haitian intern.

Patrick Huard plays Steve Guibord, an ex-NHL player who represents the rural district of Prescott-Makadewà-Rapides-aux Outardes. His duties include meeting with eccentric constituents and attempting to settle a never-ending dispute between the loggers of his region and the Algonquin First Nations. Guibord’s monotonous routine is broken when he discovers he holds the balance of power in whether or not Canada will send troops to the Middle East. Confused and overwhelmed, Guibord finds himself turning to his twenty-two year old intern, Souverain, for advice.

The most enjoyable aspect of My Internship in Canada is watching the interactions between these characters. While struggling to keep the peace within his own family and his constituency, Huard provides a hilarious portrayal of someone in way over their head.

But comedy doesn’t get in the way of character growth. Guibord comes off as incompetent at first, but it becomes clear that his intentions are pure as the film progresses. He genuinely cares about the people in his riding. Souverain, played by the hilarious Irdens Exantus, contrasts the often-grouchy MP to create a great buddy-comedy dynamic. An idealist ray of sunshine, Souverain constantly quotes Jean-Jacques Rousseau and becomes the brains behind the whole operation.

There are a few instances of racial discrimination against the intern scattered throughout the film, but instead of acknowledging this issue, the film never shows Souverain standing up for himself. It’s frustrating to watch because no one else stands up for him either.

Formal aspects of Canadian government and culture don’t receive much screen time, but it’s refreshing to see a humorous take on the federal government that’s still well executed in terms of cinematography. There’s an element of ridiculousness to the film and viewers might find themselves shaking their heads at some points — like when Guibord and Souverain are forced to canoe halfway to Parliament due to the MP’s crippling fear of airplanes. Though some of these Canadian stereotypes and inaccuracies become tiresome, it’s all part of the ride.

The movie may not sit well with conservatives, though. The film’s Prime Minister is a caricature of Stephen Harper, whose sole appearances involve egregious manipulation and a sick jam session with his teenage daughter.

If you’re looking for a dramatic film about the inner workings of government, My Internship in Canada isn’t for you. It’s a fun, easily digestible watch that will entertain almost anyone and provide some much needed comic relief in advance of the upcoming elections.


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