‘I’m Going to Break Your Heart’: Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk reflect on marital struggles in documentary

Chantal Kreviazuk, left, and Raine Maida pose for a portrait at the Thompson Hotel in Toronto on Jan. 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marta Iwanek

Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk are no strangers to putting their marriage on display for public scrutiny, but in their new documentary “I’m Going to Break Your Heart,” the musicians go a step further by inviting cameras into some uncomfortably tense situations.

The couple spiral into an argument over creative freedom while composing a song together in one scene, and in another the layers of their emotional disconnection are peeled back with the help of a marriage counsellor.

It’s the kind of access you rarely see from Canadian musicians, who don’t often speak openly about relationships. But Maida suggests there’s value in revealing the steps they’ve taken to mend fractures formed throughout 19 years of marriage and parenting three children.

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“I don’t think we’re embarrassed by it,” the Our Lady Peace frontman said while sitting alongside his wife. “I would’ve been five years ago.”

Kreviazuk chimed in with a more decisive perspective on the emotional rawness she portrays in the counselling sessions.

“I think it would be great to not be embarrassed of that — if we could all not be so worried about what other people think,” she said.

“I love excellence but the place I most want it is in my home and with my partner. That’s my No. 1 priority.”

Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk performing at the 30th annual Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards Gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel on March 22, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES

At the centre of “I’m Going to Break Your Heart,” showing at Calgary’s National Music Centre on Feb. 8, is the couple’s quest to rediscover passion for each other through music.

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After five years of stalled plans, they resolve to escape their daily demands and temporarily resettle in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a self-governing archipelago off the coast of Newfoundland that’s a territory of France.

The isolated environment offers a setting for Moon vs. Sun, their first project together as songwriters and musicians. Kreviazuk and Maida push through late-night sessions where they clash over how to express their vision. Their debut single “Lowlight” is due for release on Friday.

In the coming months, the duo will bring Moon vs. Sun to cities across the country as part of a larger concert tour, and they’ll launch a podcast tentatively called “The Together Space” that interviews other couples who thrive on collaboration.

The documentary marks the start of this much bigger endeavour.

“I don’t think you’d really understand these songs if you don’t [see] how they were conceived — that context is so crucial,” Maida said.

“It doesn’t really make sense to just show the songwriting if you don’t show the process of us in a relationship.”

Singer Chantal Kreviazuk, accompanied by her husband, Raine Maida, stand for a photo on the red carpet during Canada’s Walk of Fame at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Shaping that footage into a documentary proved more frustrating than either of them expected, Maida said. Certain editors felt the story thrived on the clashes, rather than the creation of their album, so they would splice together separate therapy sessions to ratchet up the conflict, he said.

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“We saw some edits that we were like, ‘Why are you trying to make us look like we don’t love each other?'” Kreviazuk added, pointing out they’ve participated in marriage coaching for 12 years.

“You can really play with that [and] make it look like dart after dart with no space for healing.”

Maida, 48, said watching an outsider’s version of their story led him to seriously consider learning post-production software so that he could recut the film himself.

“I saw how quickly a choice could be made that just shifted the whole thing,” he said.

“It was inauthentic. Never mind it made us look terrible, it was like you’re telling lies now. We’re trying to be as real, open and honest as possible and now you’re manipulating that. And so, you’re fired. And so we went through this process for a year.”

Canadian musicians and husband and wife Chantal Kreviazuk, right, and Raine Maida smile during a press conference prior to the SOCAN Awards in Toronto Monday Nov. 15, 2004. CP PHOTO/Aaron Harris

Eventually the documentary began screening for test audiences in Los Angeles and the couple listened while others dissected their relationship. Fingers were pointed in both directions, with some saying Maida acted like a jerk while Kreviazuk came across as needy.

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“People were laughing,” Maida recalled. “They were angry. They said, ‘Would you get divorced?'”

Kreviazuk, 44, said she’s come to accept that viewers might project their own experiences onto her marriage, but she prefers to focus on the positivity the documentary is bringing out.

Since the film’s trailer debuted earlier this month, she’s heard fans say it inspired them to reconnect with their own partners. She’s saving those messages on her phone as a reminder that speaking about the ups and downs of their marriage has rewards.

“I don’t really care if somebody thinks it’s a fail, because all I see here is a massive success,” Kreviazuk said

“I often feel like we’ve been together so long that it’s him and I against the world. I really love that.”

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