Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)
Laurence Anyways (2012)
Best New Film
Genre: Drama
Director: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clément, Nathalie Baye, Monia Chokri
Language: French
Duration: 168 min.
Rating: 8.4
Summary:
In the 1990s, a man tries to hold on to his relationship with his fiancée after telling her that he wants to become a woman.
Laurence Anyways is a film written and directed by Xavier Dolan. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where Suzanne Clément won the Best Actress Award, shared with Émilie Dequenne (Our Children), in addition winning to the festival's unofficial Queer Palm Award. It was also voted the Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Astonishingly this is already the third feature film from the 23-year-old director, and it is an epic unconventional love story delivered in grand style. The nearly three hour long film is set in 1990's Montréal, and follows to the turn of the millennium, the intensely passionate roller-coaster relationship between literary professor/writer Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) and his assistant movie director girlfriend Frederique (Suzanne Clément). A romance threatened by Laurence's declaration that he wants to live as a woman; but held on to when the madly in love Frederique decides to give it a go.

Laurence Anyways (2012)

It's certainly a brash (some would say self-indulgent) effort, filled with obsessive attention to design and fashion details, and marked by a series of what has become Dolan's signature: lengthy slow motion glamor sequences set to era-evocative pop music played at full volume. These montages are indescribably stunning to behold, and provide a stylistic flourish to the torrent of emotions exhibited by his characters.

Despite the fancy artistry and the highly unusual romance, deep down it's really just a story about two people trying to make something impossible work; and Dolan shows extraordinary talent in the way he establishes these characters and fleshes them out with colorful nuances. Sometimes he crosses the line of credibility with the heightened melodrama but fortunately his lead actors are always capable of pulling it off and making the emotions real.

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Poupaud, who was actually brought in as a last minute replacement for Louis Garrel (who the part was conceived for), is terrific and handles his difficult role with a believable mix of strength and tenderness. While the outstanding Clément, steals the show with a ferocious performance highlighted by multiple unforgettable moments. She's a real charismatic firecracker who is simply amazing to watch.

The film's length might be too much of an obstacle for some, and perhaps some slightly swifter editing could have elevated this into a true breakout, but the glorious visual style, immersive storytelling, and the very compelling characters make this quite the wondrous experience. Dolan may still be a bit rough around the edges, but this is a positive and exciting step forward, as we are finally seeing a distinctive cinematic voice emerging from the raw talent.
Bonjour Tristesse

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)

Laurence Anyways (2012)

20 comments:

Jessica said...

It wouldn't have hurt to shorten it a little bit, but like you I found this movie very, very beautiful. Such a talent! I will definitely follow his career in the years to come.

Michaël Parent said...

Clément is indeed a very talented actress, having seen her in many roles for tv shows she is also beautiful. I must admit I've haven't seen Dolan's film but I will correct that shortly. Very good review BT!

d_4 said...

I read the summary and thought of a movie I'd seen years ago.. this is different. I'm sure I'll enjoy the watch. Maybe a bit lengthy, but that's fine on the right day.

Diana said...

This sounds very intriguing, I was curious about it since Cannes. Great review!

blahblahblahtoby said...

I remember reading that he was having serious trouble getting funding due to the premise and ended up raising money with a kickstarter type deal.


Despite loving his previous film I was a little hesitant about this one, length as you say playing a major part, but the content doesn't exactly scream accessible either.



Another good review from you has however reignited my interest.

Stevee said...

Wow...three films at age 23? Dolan must be extremely talented! I have heard good things about this one, and even though the length does look like a bit of an obstacle, I will check it out as soon as possible.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah story wise I didn't think it was too long at all, but a few shorter scenes, and maybe cutting back on some of those slo-mo sequences could have made this reach a wider audience.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

What other roles of hers would you recommend?

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks Diana. It really is a beautiful film that will definitely be in my top 10.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Do you recall the name of that movie?

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Now that you mention it, I do remember someone posting a link to that in my review of his previous film. I'm glad he got the funding together.


Do check it out if you get the chance. If you loved Heartbeats, I'd say it's almost a certainty that you will love this one too.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

No kidding... and world class films all of them. Looking forward to your review.

Michaël Parent said...

I liked her in the title role of Les Hauts et les Bas de Sophie Paquin (TV show comedy) and currently she is in one of the best shows called Unité 9 (TV show Drama) about women in prison.

She was also in J'ai tué ma mère, C'est pas moi je le jure which I liked at different levels.

d_4 said...

That took way too long for me to google up. It was 2003's 'Normal' which was a Tv movie.. which confused me because I'm pretty sure we rented it. Now I feel cheated.

Jandy said...

This played at AFI Fest this year, but I ended up having to miss it - one screening didn't start until 10pm (actually closer to 11:30pm by the time it actually started, because the previous film was delayed), and the other started at 5pm, which was too early for me to get there from work. I'm glad to read your review, though, because despite loving both I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats, the length and the premise were making me hesitant about this one. Sounds like it's definitely something I'll like, though, when I get the chance to catch up with it.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Ahh, the dreaded festival scheduling conflicts. And, you're not the first I've heard say that about this film, I wonder how many other of his fans have stayed away from it because of the length and premise... I'm sure he was aware it would have that effect, so its a brave move to deliver it as is. Anyhow thanks for stopping by Jandy, I hope you get to see it soon.

365 moviesandsongs365 said...

I don't know whether I'm interested enough in the subject matter to give this film a watch. On the other hand, based on your high rating here, you indicate it's among the best of this past year, so I may catch it on dvd.
I gave the soundtrack a listen, and that was a nice surprise, included my favorites in a music post I did yesterday.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It's not a subject that I'm particularly interested in either, so don't let that dissuade you. The music is great, but even better when you see how Dolan uses it in the film.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I've been liking Xavier since I saw I Killed my Mother, but I've not seen this film yet. I'll definitely watch this one but not sure whether I'm gonna like it or not. I like Dolan and I hope he won't stick to this gay/transgender themed movies for whole his career.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I agree, I hope he eventually branches out and tries telling some different types of stories too.

Post a Comment