Laurence Anyways - directed by Xavier Dolan
Obviously I’ve missed some reviews, and to be honest, I wasn’t really inspired enough by the previous films I saw to even write one. Not to say they weren’t good, but they really didn’t give me the film festival feeling that I was looking for.
This film, (and I still have three left), is most likely going to be my film of the festival, one of my top films for 2012, and my of my favorite films in general. And not only is this an impressive, but when I reflect on the fact that the director is only 23 years old, it is sort of shocking. The most shocking part is that someone that age was able to direct a 160 minute film that not only held my attention, but left me wanting more. Unreal.
The film Laurence Anyways follows the story of English teacher/poet Laurence Alia (Melvil Poupaud), and his girlfriend of two years Fred “Fredrique” (Suzanne Clément). The film dives right into what appears to be a perfect relationship. And not perfect in the creepy Stepford kind of way, but perfect in its chaos. The two are deeply in love with one another, and the chemistry between the two is palpable. It doesn’t take long for the audience, and eventually Fred, to be let in on the secret inside of Laurence, the secret being he feels he was born into the wrong body; the wrong gender.
The whole time the film was running from the point that Laurence painstakingly reveals his secret to Fred, until the very end, I couldn’t help but think about how courageous someone must be in order to do what’s in their head, and in their heart. The film takes place primary in 90’s Montreal, and seeing as North America (let alone other parts of the world) isn’t yet comfortable with the thought of a transgender individual, I can only imagine it would have been much worse 20 years ago. I won’t lie, whoever is willing to go through the process to change genders is hard as fuck. No other way to put it.
Back to the film though. What follows Laurence’s revelation, is of course the inevitable downfall. Fred being placed in the awkward position of still being in love with Laurence, and Laurence still being very much in love with Fred, the two tackle many obstacles, some of which are set up on their own, in order to try and work together to make it through this life altering situation. Don’t be mistaken though, the film isn’t without it’s fun, upbeat, funny, and truly inspiring moments. The film at so many points brings you from a total high, to a total low, but in the best way possible. It doesn’t try and force you to feel anything, and that is very important for a film that will undoubtedly bring out strong opinions amongst individuals.
By the end, you’re left with a film that feels like the furthest thing from cliche. And once again, by the end you will be left thinking how a film so true in its representation of love, pain, family, etc. could be captured by someone who is only 23 years old. At the same time though, you won’t even care. It has to be noted as well, that this film includes one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time. Not since (and I may be missing a film or two) Garden State, has a soundtrack really stuck with me, and this one had everyone on Twitter asking where to find it. And when a soundtrack can accomplish that, while also primarily being in French, you know it’s good.
Honestly I could keep going on about this film. I’m missing so much, but I highly recommend it for anyone to see.