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Xavier Dolan’s film Heartbeats is his second however only his first to hit the US. It’s a visual feast filled with chic fashion, gorgeous actors and highly stylized cinematography shown often in slow motion.
Dolan stars in the film with Monia Chokri and Niels Schneider. They each play their parts to perfection, which is aided by Dolan’s patience. The sad reality I find with most films is that they are in a rush, fearing you are getting bored; Heartbeats let’s the events unfold slowly as it observes with a keen eye. I’d even go as far as to say the camera is infatuated with these three subjects; it lusts for them, it hates them, it loves them, etc.
I’m very critical of screenwriting as I’m a screenwriter myself. One thing Dolan does is include interviews in a cafe about love with ppl unconnected from the plot. This film definitely has some notable issues splicing those interviews into the film. That being said, in the grand scheme This puts into perspective the normality of this seemingly special occurrence. We all love and feel passion that we think we could never live without, till we forget and the events, while remembered, become inconsequential.
Another very interesting theme explored is the relationship we hold with people or forces that hold power over us. What does it reveal when a lover or a boss or a religious leader expresses his/het power over us? Francis and Marie are essentially slaves to Nicolas. This mutual affection tears their friendship apart, the saddest tragedy of the film. (SPOILER) When they go back to being good friends in the end I feel desperation and fear, as we’ve seen how flimsy that friendship truly is.
In the end this film appreciates passionate affection while acknowledging its transiency. It shows the way we struggle to control ourselves. It does that thing you rarely see at the movies, if shows life in its brutal and unequivocal reality.