Xavier Dolan, the prodigal Canadian director/screenwriter/(voice) actor/editor/face of Louis V. is ready for you to see his latest film now. ‘Juste la fin du monde’ (or ‘It’s Only the End of the World’) is a veritable French A-list affair (all the visages of Parisian fashion are here: Gaspard Ulliel, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel and Nathalie Baye) and they didn’t come to putter about. The plot (no spoilers) revolves around young writer Louis (Ulliel) who has come back to visit his family for the first time in 12 years to deliver some bad news. Safe to say it is a scorching mess. The resentful mood, the Sunday-with-relatives tangerine lighting, the way you’d act as a kid when someone cool would come to visit that you wanted to impress but your siblings called you out in front of everyone: the story of this fraught family function is very recognisable and poignant.
Dolan knows how to land a cinematic gut punch (you guys saw/cried in foetal position after seeing ‘Mommy’ too, right?). Because he grew up when I did, a lot of his references and soundtrack choices resonated deeply with me while I took in the film at the press preview. The script, inspired by the structure of the play, is free-flowing (the characters often correct themselves grammatically while speaking), the frequent close-ups have an arresting effect and honestly: bitingly harsh arguments always sound better in French. I guess what I’m saying is: go see it while it’s in theatres because at least they can’t clock your misty eyes in the dark.