Laurence anyways

Laurence anyways

DVD - 2013 | French
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In the '90s, Laurence tells his girlfriend Fred that he wants to become a woman. In spite of the odds, they confront the prejudices of their friends, ignore the counsel of their families, and brave the phobias of the society they offend. For ten years, they try to live through this transition, and embark on an epic journey which, unbeknownst to them, may cost Fred and Laurence their love.
Publisher: Philadelphia, PA : Breaking Glass Pictures, c2013
Branch Call Number: LAU
Characteristics: 1 dvd (161 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 cm


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Jan 02, 2021

After watching 5 movies directed by Xavier Dolan, I've come to the conclusion that after his first (I Killed my Mother) he has degenerated into a hack with Fassbinder pretensions. This one certainly attempts a take on the Fassbinder visage, except that the extreme closeups, sharp cutting of scenes and wavering hand-held camera make it a hard go.
Is it any more than a collection of dress-up scenes with costumes that would only appeal to the most garish personas? It is also (at least) one hour too long.

Feb 11, 2016

First of all: perfect casting, complicated characters, great acting. Second of all, beautifully filmed with many strikingly original scenes. Xavier Dolan is the real thing as a director. That said, the movie tries to be too many things, seemed baggy and overstuffed, goes nowhere then suddenly goes in ridiculous uncalled for direction and has a corny ending, as if the filmmakers couldn't pass on a cool idea in order to make a coherent movie. Which is to say, alas, self-indulgent. Heartbeats is so much better thanks to the tighter focus.

Aug 21, 2015

Visually amazing, the story is unique and very human. Superbly done. I loved this movie.

Dec 31, 2014

Xavier Dolan wowed audiences with "I Killed My Mother" and "Les Amours Imaginaires", but with "Laurence Anyways" Quebec’s fresh-faced wunderkind becomes a pretentious artiste who seems to have fallen in love with the sound of his own success. This overblown and overly long study in artistic gimmickry follows ten years in the life of Laurence and his BFF (and sometime lover) Federique, “Fred” for short. The film begins in 1989 when Laurence announces his intention to become a woman, and ends on the eve of the New Millennium as she reflects on ten years’ worth of triumphs and heartbreaks. To be fair there are moments of genuine depth and striking beauty amidst all the gender-f**king and arty excesses, but Dolan tries to pull too many cinematic tricks out of his hat resulting in a jarringly edited film that plays like a string of 80’s music videos. The soundtrack, however, was magnificent.

Feb 25, 2014

I enjoyed Dolan's "J'ai tué ma mere" but this one lost steam and nose-dived as it stretched on and on... The editing was pretty choppy throughout, but my main issue is the big directorial flourishes eventually just distract more than add any meaningful symbolism. The actors were good initially, when they weren't only being used to barely link the scenes in which they are artificially staged to "bedazzle" us.

Jilliemae Dec 21, 2013

I LOVED this movie; it haunted me for days afterwards. It's an amazing love story between a heterosexual couple, and the man decides to transition into a woman. This is an epic film about their decade long relationship and the difficulty of being in love, and having to question what it really means to love someone else, as well as yourself. Amazing film, beautifully shot, and the costumes are fantastic. Additionally, Xavier Dolan has proven himself to be an excellent director. Heartbeats is another of his films that makes you so amazed that he's so accomplished as a director in his low 20s.

Nov 25, 2013

There is not much reason to see this, although Suzanne Clement is remarkable, showing us the anger and frustration of her character as well as the occasional joy. Poupaud is also effective. What is not a pleasure is watching Dolan struggle to be a major director. He is at best a TV talent.

Nov 17, 2013

There is no specific point in which “Laurence Anyways” becomes less of a film, there’s only a point where you realize it’s not the masterpiece it had potential to be. Director, Xavier Dolan’s stylistic and visual choices are the work of a revolutionary sort, but his decisions involving characters and plot lines are somewhat questionable. It seems as though he is the combination of a filmmaking genius and at other times, a teenager fiddling around with a script.

The film follows Laurence and his girlfriend, Fred, and how their relationship takes a turn when Laurence decides he wants to become a woman. Difficulties arise, but Fred stays alongside of Laurence during the beginning of their relationship, but they soon find themselves falling apart. “Laurence Anyways” tracks their relationship across ten years of their lives.

What first caught my eye, was Xavier Dolan’s style. It’s a visual feast driven by an explosion of color that brings everything to light like I’ve never seen before. The beauty of the images is beyond words, because there’s probably nothing I can begin to compare it to. The color is used to constantly reflect the mood of the scene and to make the audience feel what the character are supposedly feeling. Dolan knows the precise amount of color to use and to not overdose with, and make everything feel controlled.

Melvil Poupaud plays Laurence, and he delivers a very strong performance bringing light to this character and trying with all of his might for him to feel real. It was a very difficult character to portray and I am in infinite awe of Poupaud. If a lesser actor had been in his place, we’d have no reason to care about Laurence. But the best performance of the film, belongs to Suzanne Clement. Her character struggles even more than Laurence, since she has to make a decision involving commitment when times are hard. I see a very promising career in her future.

That said, there was great acting, and the character felt real, but I never could come close to relating to them. I had respect for them, and I did like the characters most of the time, but the film could never come close to being a masterpiece (for me) because I could never connect with them in any way. Perhaps these people are more real for Xavier Dolan, but for me at least, I’ve never seen anybody similar to these characters and with their quirky tendencies. It seems like these are the kind of people Dolan would know very well because they’re shown with a sense of familiarity. Yet the trouble for me is, that the familiarity never worked as it was intended to, for me.

Here’s where “Laurence Anyways” lost me more than anywhere else: it’s far too long. The film is just short of 170 minutes, and it’s really a film I would find much more effective if it was about 100 minutes in length. Over the course of that last 70 minutes, I began to ask myself, why is this happening, is it supposed to change the way I saw this relationship or change the way I saw transgenderism? In the end of the film it becomes much more about their relationship than Laurence’s transsexualism. Dolan was much more successful in telling the story of Laurence’s gender than the later portion of Laurence and Fred’s relationship. The film also began trying to become an “epic romance” whereas we never felt the intensity and the massive scope that makes an epic. Instead, “Laurence Anyways” felt stretched out.

“Laurence Anyways” is an important film because of how it deals with social justice, because the performances are great and it’s shot beautifully. Yet at the same time, it feels a little cold and distant which is the opposite effect it should have. It equals out to a good film, but not a great one, which is what it could have been, and what it should have been.

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