writer Xavier Dolan's full-length films, one thing -- in addition to the main character's "otherness" as a homosexual or would-be trans-gender -- does stand out. Shorter is definitely better, as M. Dolan appears to have some trouble staying focused. His first film (which remains his best), I Killed My Mother (J'ai tué ma mère), all about a fraught mom/son relation-ship, ran only 96 minutes but still began to ramble toward the finale; his follow-up, Heartbeats (Les amours imaginaires) extended to 101 minutes and tracked a kind of doomed threesome/would-be love affair with the focus and point alternately sharp and woozy; now, with LAURENCE ANYWAYS, that focus is on a seemingly happy, if a little wild, male school teacher who one day, quite out of the blue, confesses to his girl his raging need to become a woman. This one lasts two hours and 48 minutes.
TrustMovies was expecting too much from this film -- something like a real and at least somewhat deep look into the why and how of the transgender experience. Instead we get a very lengthy movie about this "odd couple" that -- despite all the ability that the very fine actor Melvil Poupaud musters here (it's a lot) and the terrific actress Suzanne Clément (who matches Poupaud moment for moment) -- fuck and fight and split, then do it all over, again and again, throughout this oddly "surface" film. Neither as writer nor director, even with as able performers as he has here, can M. Dolan (shown above) manage to delve to any depth. By the end of the film, we know about as much as we did going in. If the filmmaker's intent is to keep the mystery of transgender desire ever mysterious, he has succeeded in spades. I am not even certain that you could call Laurence at any point in the film actually transgendered, as he seems to have a quite a bit of trouble parting with his penis. (And if you've ever seen M. Poupaud's, you'll immediately understand why.)
Ozon's Time to Leave.)
Nathalie Baye), to his girl, to a bar, our hero seem to get into a fight -- verbal or otherwise. Finally, it's refreshing, if annoying, to see him with a new girl with whom he simply goes into heavy withdrawal. Overall, the character comes off as a something of an entitled twat. Which is not, I suspect, the kind of "woman" he wanted to become.
Frances Ha got hers, visually), from Breaking Glass Pictures, makes its DVD and Blu-ray debut today.