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Genre: Comedy Drama (Canada)
Starring: Michel Côté (Evil Words; Omerta), Marc-André Grondin
Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée
Overview: This is a coming of age story about Zachary Bealieu, a young boy with a unique personality and the trials and tribulations of his life and that of his family's in Quebec during the late 60s and early 70s.
The entire cast, particularly the oldest brother, mom and especially dad all astounded me. You know when a nice honest family drama has appropriate characters that don't overdo it and act all hammy, while still having some brilliantly directed Oscar moments? No? Then watch this. You'll love everyone in it.
The cinematography was standard fare, with a few good effect here and there. Normally I would give it a standard rating, but as I watched this, I thought how great this was at being commonplace and everyday. The fact that they didn't get all artsy actually helped the feel of the film, so for that, I'm bumping it up, for being appropriate.
The writing was really honest and terrific entertaining. You'll really feel as though the ideas are familiar without all having been done before. Original content with a great mix of emotions throughout the film that's smart and thoughtful, this screenwriter has nothing to fear for his career. You'll be pleased that you saw this. The translation was terrific too.
The best part of this is that the whole family is involved. Sure there's focus on our little Zac, but there's appropriate focus on the family he spent most of his life WITH, see? The story is great because it's deep in its telling. There's no big point at the end that we're waiting to get to (I've been watching a lot of Thrillers lately so this is a refreshing change). From his youth, to his teens to his burgeoning adulthood, to a nice dramatic climax and a great little denouement, this is really top quality stuff.
The music! Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, David Bowie. All the best songs of the era. As for the costumes, cars and the visuals, my guest commented that "it doesn't look like it was set in the 70s, it looks like it was shot there." I think that explains it clearly enough. As for me, Quebec being my childhood culture, I bump it up by one because watching this is like visiting my cousins. Really immersive. I now know what it's like to grow up in a house full of brothers.
Overall Rating: 88% (It's Insane How Good This Film Is!)
This is the Canadian Oscar pick this year, just FYI, and it's no wonder. Imagine winning two foreign film awards at the Oscars two years in a row? That would be interesting. I will recommend this to anyone and everyone who asks, but I will keep the title a secret till the very end too. Nice touch.