It’s Only the End of the World is a drama with an all-star cast of French actors — Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel and Marion Cotillard. French-Canadian Director, Xavier Dolan adapted the film from the play Juste la fin du Monde by Jean-Luc Lagarce. The film surprised its audience at the Cannes Film festival and ended up winning the Grand Prix and the Ecumenical Jury Prize. Critics praised the film, including The Guardian, who called it a “brilliant, stylised and hallucinatory evocation of family dysfunction.”
It’s Only the End of the World is about a successful writer and author Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) who returns home to his estranged family after a 12-year absence to tell them that he is dying. He is greeted by his emotionally unstable mother (Nathalie Baye), his younger sister who is infatuated by the brother she never knew, Suzzane (Lea Seydoux), his bullying older brother, Antoine (Vincent Cassel) and his belittled sister-in-law who he has never met before, Catherine (Marion Cotillard). The afternoon turns into total family dysfunction as they sit down to lunch and begin to bicker. It isn’t long before they start airing their 12 years of dirty laundry. Louis’ mind drifts in and out of pivotal memories from his past as he desperately tries to find the right moment to break the news of his impending death. All the while he continues to remind himself that it’s not the end of the world to tell them the news. A rather contradictory statement, as he realizes that it does mean the end of his world.
Dolan does an excellent job capturing the family drama, emotional confrontations and the turmoil that comes with the territory of returning home to deliver a devastating message. It is clear that Dolan has a knack for creating movies with immense emotional power and this film will leave the audience with all sorts of emotions as they are taken on a journey through the first person view of Louis’ experience.
Its Only the End of the World screens Wednesday at 7 P.M. at Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit www.brocku.ca/bufs for details.
-Desirae Stack, Contributor