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."
Every family has its ticks. This one is hyper expressive. Except for the lead, who can't quite say his truth at this gathering, after a twelve year absence. Lots of close in shots, dim lighting, interior spaces. Why do some families stay together? Why do some members leave and others remain? Xavier Dolan got panned for this film. Something about book to screen failure. I just see him flexing.
I'm really into this film because of its strong cinematic language with a lot of beautiful and also meaningful scenes. The story unfolds sophisticatedly scene by scene based on its theatrical origin. The final act moved me with such a beautiful final scene and a great job of lightning. Although many people judge this as a flop of Xavier Dolan, I see this is one of the best of his works until then.
I had high hopes about this film as a possibility of being a very good movie, but in the end it becomes a very well shot film about a typical story of coming back to reveal the harshest of truths. The mise-en-scéne is well done but not enough to make it great, even though the great female characters play very well. It's quite predictable in its scenes and in its plot unfolding.
Much like "Forrest Gump," this is a film that I can certainly say I liked, but completely understand why it divides people. It's not a perfect film, with many uncomfortable exchanges and an overuse of monologues. Despite that, I got a kick out watching the characters and their histories being dissected. Maybe it's Lagrace's unique writing style, or maybe it's the talent and chemistry of the cast. It just hooked me.