The success of Laurie Lynd's Breakfast with Scot hinges almost entirely on the performance of young Noah Bernett in the title role. Give most Hollywood child actors a showy role like the unusual preteen Scot and you would probably get a very self-conscious performance. Perhaps they make them differently in Canada, but Bernett comes through with a startlingly naturalistic and, finally, moving turn. Scot is a movie-style oddball, singing Christmas carols in a quavering falsetto to comfort himself, trying on cosmetics, and trying to kiss the local ruffian, but Bernett's performance makes him wholly believable and very sympathetic. Some of the film's comedy runs a bit broad, but the fine performances -- including Thomas Cavanagh in the lead, and especially Bernett and another young find, Dylan Everett as neighborhood bully Ryan -- transcend the occasionally cartoonish milieu. Having set up the high-concept situation of a macho, closeted gay hockey player forced to care for a flamboyant, effeminate 11-year-old, Lynd and screenwriter Sean Reycraft (adapting the novel by Michael Downing), aided by their able cast, opt to play things surprisingly close to the feather-boa-strewn vest. There are some moments of slapstick embarrassment and fish-out-of-water comedy, and a decent number of laughs, but given its occasional silliness, it's especially impressive that the darker emotions of the piece -- developing from Scot's sense of loss, his precarious social situation, and his growing uncertainty of his place in the world -- feel completely genuine. The tone throughout is low-key and professional. It's competently shot and edited. In the end, Breakfast with Scot is more than the sum of its parts because these "minor" virtues make the expected feel-good climax feel so well-earned.