It’s the unfortunate reality of even the most confident human beings when we find ourselves strong yet helpless at the same time when nature manages to do what all other circumstances can’t – succeeding in bringing calamity that leaves us broken and damaged both internally and externally. Out of hundreds of people, only a few may be resistant enough to stand up and fight back with bare hands while the rest give up and embrace a fate that no human being should face.
Angelique (Julia Jones), an indigenous woman, a young Ojibway, meets the love of her love in Charlie (Charlie Carrick), a young voyageur. Shortly after, they celebrate their love with a marriage that promised nothing but a fruitful and prosperous future for both of them. However, an unfortunate circumstance leaves both of them alone at Lake Superior’s Isle Royale where the woman and her husband are forced to fight for their survival in what turns out to be the ultimate battle to remain sane in a situation that would’ve already made someone else to give up long ago.
That someone is Charlie. But before that happens, the film opens with the woman, who we soon learn was Angelique, helplessly walking on the beach and suddenly collapse. Then we are taken to 1845, during the great copper rush, to the events that will lead to that ultimate scene the film opened with. Angelique has an important conversation on a daily basis with her grandma (Tantoo Cardinal) who wishes only the best for her granddaughter. This is why she disapproves of Angelique’s marriage to Charlie. Despite that fact, the marriage still happens; Angelique’s grandmother allows our heroine to commence her journey but she warns her not to follow her husband and go with American prospectors who are in search of copper.
I can go on and describe every event and even the reasons why Angelique and her French-Canadian husband were abandoned by the U.S. miners on Isle Royale in northwest Lake Superior for 10 months but that’s something I would rather leave it up to you to experience first hand. But all that experience and Angelique’s grandmother’s advice helps the young woman to continue surviving the harsh winter what she expects to be the last one for her due to the tragic events that occur one after another. However, as a viewer, whenever you watch her you realize that between Charlie and Angelique, this young woman is more resilient and brave to not only stand for herself but for her husband too, who slowly begins losing his mind.
Based on the novella “Angelique Abandoned” by James R. Stevens, the film is directed by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Michelle Derosier, who has her own momentum when she tackles the life of an important personality such as Angelique, how she faced discrimination for being indigenous or just a woman. Well performed by Julia Jones, the actor immortalizes an already legendary person but this time in the cinematic world which is helpful especially in our era when we must be reminded once again who we were and who we want to become if we want to avoid the mistakes of the past. But more importantly, the film is about courage and persistence of one individual who must stand against mother nature, as you know, which is a whole different case to discuss.