Laurence Anyways 2012 **

November 25th, 2012
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director/Writer:  Xavier Dolan

Melville Poupaud, Suzanne Clements, Nathalie Baye

160mins            French Canadian with subtitles

Precocious wild child, Xavier Dolan takes a fabulous premise: that a trans-gender man can maintain an exciting sexual relationship with his female soulmate; but spins it way beyond the attention span of the most avid cinephile let alone his long-suffering leads played with great elan and passion by Melvil Poupaud and Suzanne Clement, who won acclaim at Cannes for her role.

The story is beautifully shot and detailed and has the eighties to a tee; from the outfits right down to the shoulder-pads and earrings (and especially the earrrings) and a score that’s crammed with 1980s and 1990s hits that serve the extravagant set-pieces and rich interiors so well in contrast to the undernourished screenplay.

Dolan tracks the emotional highs and lows of relationships with great success but, at 23, lacks the knowledge to explore experiences that are foreign to him with greater depth and the necessary gravitas. As a follow-up to Heartbeats (2010), Laurence Anyways is work of style over substance: It’s not a failure as a film but it fails the subject matter, and that’s the biggest shame. MT



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