Film Review : Laurence Anyways (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 81%

Directed By – Xavier Dolan
Starring – Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clément, Nathalie Baye, Monia Chokri, Magalie Lépine Blondeau, and Emmanuel Schwartz

A drama that charts ten years in the relationship of a male-to-female transsexual’s relationship with her lover.

I’m almost at the end of my attempt to see as many films from 2013 as I can before 2014 really gets into gear. I crossed another film off my list when I sat down to watch “Laurence Anyways”, the new film from the young french director, Xavier Dolan. I say he’s young because the kid is only a couple months older than me, which is bitter sweet because he made a gorgeous film and I’m sitting at home on my computer writing about it. Don’t worry, this won’t turn into a self loathing post, but it is to be noted that I believe I am a huge failure.

Laurence Anyways is a film about rediscovering the true self and also trying to keep the ones you love close as you go through the process. It’s a gorgeous film. This is really the highlight of the film for me. Colorful slow motion scenes litter the film giving the long run time (nearly three hours) life as we are taken through the ten year relationship between Laurence and Frederique, or Fred for short. Laurence has just decided after two years with Fred, that he was supposed to be born a woman and that he is going to start living the way he naturally feels. Disturbed at first, Fred learns to deal with this transformation, but for how long? I usually don’t go for films of this nature, not because of any ideal issues or bigotry, but rather just an avoidance from the drama that usually accompanies such films. This film however kept my attention the entire time. There were issues but also some very enjoyable features.

I mentioned the visuals already. Each shot was perfectly constructed and meticulously framed. You ideally pause the movie at any time and find a shot worthy of a poster. Dolan is young and incredibly talented. I’m really looking forward to what he does next. The acting was also fantastic with Suzanne Clément really shining in every moment. She was explosive in some scenes while staying subtle and tragic in others. Poupaud had a quieter performance but completely sold that fact that his character was trying to change his body and life. The only thing that I didn’t like about the film was the disjointed narrative towards the end of the film. The first half of the film takes place during the beginning of their relationship with the second half trying to cover nearly eight years. It seemed rushed and forced and didn’t have the same natural flow as the first half of the film did. It ended up ruining what could have been a very very good film. I expect Dolan to learn from this and he is also a very talented writer. Hopefully he learns how to progress the narrative of his characters better because I was very interested in what had happened in the nooks and crannies of those eight years.

Overall the film was very enjoyable. I’m a sucker for the french language so watching this for nearly hours didn’t phase me at all. It’s one of the prettiest films of the year with real moments of passion and emotion delivered by fantastic acting, mainly from Suzanne Clément. It was well worth the watch.


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