#REVIEW: “IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
In Canada we tend to hold our exalted heroes to a higher standard: their greatness must be maintained and never tainted with the mediocrity we accept from lesser mortals. In recent years Quebec’s Xavier Dolan has been hailed as a new archetype of Film Deity at whose altar Cinephiles worship and with offerings of praise and critical acclaim. Thus in May when word from Cannes suggested his latest Film, It’s Only the End of the World, was less than perfection Canadians were quick to rally around their hero.
Adapted from a play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, the French, subtitled Film follows the laconic Louis (Saint Laurent’s Gaspard Ulliel) as he travels home for the first time in 12 years. Before he can break the news that he is dying he is swept up into his family’s complicated internal dynamics. The brooding Antoine (Vincent Cassel) is resentful of the attention his prodigal younger brother is receiving from both the family and his timid wife Catherine (Marion Cotillard). Louis’ younger sister Suzanne (Léa Seydoux) is desperate for attention and approval from her absentee brother. And the family matriarch (Nathalie Baye) is torn between treating her son like visiting royalty and desperately wanting to keep him tied to her home.
Typical of the director’s style, Dolan leaves nothing to chance in this intimate character study. Having put his stamp of approval on everything from the costumes to the note perfect music it would seem logical that everything would come together as it had in his previous Films. Instead everyone seems to be trying too hard and the dramatic dénouement comes off as over-wrought rather than meaningful.
Had almost any other director’s name been attached to this film it would have been given passing nods of middling praise as a Canadian success. From Dolan, however, It’s Only the End of the World can only be called a rare misstep into the world of mediocrity.
eOne Films release It’s Only the End of the World on XXXX.