UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Faith, Fraud and Minimum Wage

Dramedy focuses on an atheist coming-of-age on the east coast

By Christen Thomas

Faith, Fraud and Minimum Wage
Directed by George Mihalka
(Moving Films Inc. / Les Productions Colin Neale Inc.)

Based on real-life events in Cape Breton, N.S., this gripping, coming-of-age dramedy is filled with soft-spoken humour, whip-smart religious puns, quirky characters and a poignant soundtrack.

Casey McMullen (Martha MacIsaac) is a self-proclaimed atheist in a fictionalized Nova Scotia town called Nately (its welcome sign vandalized to read “a good place to stop to pee”). With plenty of reasons for wavering belief, Casey is also in dire need of miracles. Between her exploitive boss at a coffee-shop job, her comatose sister, Meg, in hospital, and a single-parent father too obsessed with Meg’s impossible recovery to make mortgage payments, Casey struggles to grow up and not run away.

In a fit of frustration, she hurls a cup of coffee at the wall of Krowne Donuts and manipulates the resulting mess into an image of Jesus. This religious hoax promptly turns the quiet town into a faith circus. As Krowne Donuts rapidly sells out of coffee and food, owner Bob pressures the community’s floundering young priest to endorse the divine manifestation and convince Casey to fall in line with his plan. Bob wants to spin Casey’s disbelief into born-again renewal, a feel-good ending that would surely bring more attention and better business.

But with cash rolling in to help her family, bullies offering sudden respect, a new love interest and her unexpected celebrity status, will Casey backpedal and publicly confess? Having told everyone what to believe in, she finally considers the question herself.

The film offers no predictable happy ending, but rather a healthy serving of non-preachy, tear-brimming hope.

Christen Thomas is a poet and editor in Halifax.

Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image


David Wilson%


by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image


July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots


June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.


June 2017


by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.


June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.


April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart


March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image