Really enjoyed this film, showing this highly dysfunctional family argue about random things, tensed, violent and claustrophobic. You do not need to come from a dysfunctional family to recognise the twisted dynamics between the characters. All the actors are excellent and the close-ups give you a sense of very limited breathing space. Vincent Cassel is excelling as the nasty brother.
Despite having few extremely strong and inspiring scenes (i.e. those in the hut with the mother, and in the car with the brother), the overall impression is rather dull: Dolan's distinctive closed-up visuals and pounding soundtracks are excessive, and tarnish the narrative's daintiness. Some characters are poorly built, as some of their struggles are only hinted and never developed - just giving a pale sense of them.
Introvertism and maybe lack of courage. Family bonds are innate yet, this movie depicts them as also chaotic. The love between these characters is undeniable. You can try to reciprocate no matter how much love you receive but still feel alone. Lea Seydoux goes above and beyond, should have gotten more screen time. Cotillard was a bit wasted. From writing to soundtrack choices, Xavier Dolan resonates with me.
Ulliel plays Louis too blankly and can be a chore to watch but everything else isn't. Dolan's checklist of mothers, swoon worthy images and surprisingly moving music (Dragostea din tei gets more emotional mileage than you can ever imagine) is in full effect but there's something truly special in this film that tugs and twists well after its end.
It may be Dolan's weakest film, but that's not saying much, because it's still stronger than most. What's most admirable about him is that he's always experimenting with different versions or possibilities of his own style, and I have a deep affinity with anyone who sees the emotional potential in "The Numa Numa Song."