Though it makes reference to the intelligent, the film itself is not intellectual. It's a broad comedy and a trite drama; albeit effective at both, though not quite charming enough to cancel out the chauvinism. Sort of wish it had just stuck with the medical buerocracy of the first act.
The first hour was ok, but the long ending sequence at the cottage was wonderful. "We can't decipher the past, how can we know the future?" A man is afraid to die without having found a meaning to life and to leave no mark. "I have missed you all my life." Primo Levi, E.M. Cioran, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn and Samuel Pepys. "The history of mankind is a history of horrors." Loved Arvo Pärt selections for soundtrack.
I recently lost my dad. He was an intellectual/academic/contrarian (not as open about his philandering). Standoffish in life, in the end he was surrounded by most of the people important to him. I'm not wealthy like the son in the film, but like him, despite a complicated paternal relationship, I did my best to give my dad what he needed but wouldn't ask for. The film truly hit home for me, title and all. Art. Life.
More 3.5ish. Apart from some minor issues it was a very enjoyable watch. I really liked some of the dialogues. Probably because it resonated with me based on my exposure to almost identical topics. By no means a layered or deep or thought provoking movie. Very light and literal, and in my opinion that is it's strength.
Like its predecessor, The Decline of the American Empire, this is a narcissistic meditation on the passing of the baby-boom generation. And like Decline, it suffers from a self-important and cloying delivery. Instead of a meaningful critique of the decline of the revolutionary passion and idealism of the 60s, both films are little more than an opportunity for Arcand to spout his petty grievances with the left.