It’s Only the End of the World
Director: Xavier Dolan
Talent: Gaspard Ulliel, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye
Released: 24th February
Those who have followed Xavier Dolan’s career with even a passing interest will most likely at this point either be sold on his schtick or repelled by it. You know the deal: narcotised slow-motion, daydreamy/starey close-ups and heightened melodrama kitschily set to early-00s Eurodance (this time O-Zone’s ‘Dragostea Din Tei’ gets the incongruous tear-jerker treatment).
Juste la fin du monde sees Louis (Ulliel) return to the home of the dysfunctional family he abandoned as a teenager, becoming a successful albeit apparently cosmically self-involved playwright along the way, for a dinner party at which he plans to announce his imminent death. However, the clashing personalities of his quick tempered older brother (Cassel), perma-stoned teenage sister Suzanne (Seydoux) and doting mother (Baye) stand in the way of his tragic revelation. Only his timid, long-suffering sister-in-law Catherine (Cotillard) seems to sense something is amiss.
Wringing high drama from the banal, this is classic Dolan, but it is also typically uneven. Suzanne’s disbelieving rationalisation of her brother’s return — ‘are you writing a play?’ — is a heartbreaking moment in a star-studded but otherwise undercooked film that doesn’t quite live up to its grandiose title.
Words – Oisín Murphy-Hall