Cert: 15 Runtime: 99 mins Director: Xavier Dolan Cast: Caspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Lea Seyodux, Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel
We think silent people are good listeners. But I shut up so people leave me alone.
Xavier Dolan has been hailed as a future directorial great, he has made 6 feature films and he is only 27 years old. As a potential film-maker myself I can only dream of his quick success! If you don’t know who he is….just watch Adele’s Hello! Juste la fin du monde premiered at Cannes 2016, it received mixed reviews and Dolan walked away with the Grand Jury prize. It seems like a love it or hate it film, but I do enjoy play adaptations in cinema. So what is it all about? After 12 years of estrangement, a writer (Gaspard Ulliel) returns to his hometown, planning on announcing his impending death to his family. However, his mother (Nathalie Baye), tempestuous siblings (Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux) and beleaguered sister-in-law (Marion Cotillard) have their own personal grievances to air. As buried resentments threaten to surface and fits and feuds begin to unfold, all attempts at empathy are sabotaged by the family’s inability to listen and love.
Dolan tries to sweep us off our feet with anthropocentric framing and a flowing stream of ethereal brushings of colour and emotion, something he does well, I can’t deny him that. In the meanwhile though, he seems to be neglecting the actual plot which is painfully lacking on so many points. The entirety of the cast is strong enough to redeem this effort by generously depositing spiritful performances, thankfully seeming to overcome the dire facts that the writing is listless, the plot is dormant, and the whole movie seems painfully mannered and conditional. So much so, that the viewer is bound to be left confused and, at times, attacked by the drip-fed, self-folding, monotonous interactions that ultimately serve to dress the movie with no pragmatic value at all.
In aiming for elegance and allure, Dolan fails to dish out a well-founded, coherent film, leaving us with nothing more than an unprogressive fable. And all very chaotically wrapped in out-of-place musical choices, not enhancing but rather debasing the scenes, pulling the viewer out of the experience in flabbergasted eye-rolls. Overlooking the feeble dialogue, overall repetitiveness, plot stagnancy and forced emotive filming techniques, I rather enjoyed the performances and here is where I rate this. It’s Only The End of the World is a lifeless attempt, devoid of any true passion and it could have very easily broken down into oblivion the moment the end titles started rolling – if it weren’t for Vincent Cassel’s very last scene is nothing but shear brilliance.