Nathalie Baye

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It's Only The End Of The World Review

Essential

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of accolades alongside his name. All six of his feature films have won major awards, including this one, which like several others tackles a dysfunctional family with style, humour and unflinching nastiness. This one also features a stellar cast at the top of their game, and a situation that's almost painfully easy to identify with.

It opens as Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) arrives at his rural family home for the first time in 12 years to tell his family that he's dying. But he finds it difficult to get the words out. His mother Martine (Nathalie Baye) is chirpy and excited, his older brother Antoine (Vincent Cassel) challenges everything everyone says, and their younger sister Suzanne (Lea Seydoux) is curious to learn more about this brother she never really knew. And then there's Antoine's eerily patient wife Catherine (Marion Cotillard), who quietly observes everything until she understands what Louis is struggling to tell everyone, long before he can say it out loud.

Yes, this is an exploration of how awkward it is to go home again, falling back into old patterns of behaviour that make it very difficult to be yourself and say what needs to be said. And also how hard it is to understand the experiences and lifestyle of people we were once very close to who have moved on. The film is based on a play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, which is apparent in its closed-in location and the series of pointed conversations. And Dolan opens this out cleverly, using visually stunning camerawork that continually isolates the characters' inner thoughts and feelings in contrast to their outer actions. In other words, it's immediately clear why Louis left these people behind.

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Laurence Anyways Review


Very Good

After I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats, 23-year-old filmmaker Dolan gets even more ambitious with this epic-length romantic drama. Not all of his flourishes work, and the film is far too long, but there are moments of artistic genius all the way through that make it worth seeing. It's also anchored by two terrific central performances that work their way under our skin.

At the centre is the free-spirited relationship between Laurence (Poupaud) and his long-time girlfriend Fred (Clement). But Fred is caught completely off-guard when Laurence tells her that he has always felt like he was a man in a woman's body, and now he wants to start the transition to become female. She initially rejects him, but realises that she still loves him, regardless of his gender. His mother (Baye) takes longer to come round. And for Laurence the treatment from his colleagues and society at large is even more difficult to cope with, as he's the brunt of rampant bigotry. Over the course of a decade, his relationship with Fred is stretched to the breaking point, and after a few years apart they meet up again to see if they still belong together.

Poupaud and Clement deliver startlingly naturalistic performances as Laurence and Fred, letting us see into their souls as they face secrets, betrayals, outside pressure and the continual feeling that they belong together. Intriguingly, all of this unfurls in a way that's completely organic, as Dolan grounds everything in real human emotions. In fact, the only complaint is that the film feels artistically indulgent, and could have used a stronger editor to shape the story into a leaner, less rambling narrative.

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Laurence Anyways Trailer


Laurence and his girlfriend Fred couldn't ask for a more special relationship. They spend as much time as they have together and are as passionately in love with each other as they were when they met 10 years ago. Although tempers flare occasionally, the couple are dependent on one another and do everything within their power to disassociate themselves with other people, despite the fact that Laurence is constantly around others in his career as a teacher and writer. However, things aren't as perfect as they could be for Laurence. He has a secret that he hoped would be forgotten once he met Fred; he longs to be a woman. When he breaks down and confesses his feelings to Fred, she is initially shocked but agrees to try and make it work. When Laurence starts dressing as a woman, things are not straight forward and the prejudices of society cause him to be shunned in his career, criticised by his parents and beaten up in the street. Fred is also having second thoughts - can she maintain their troubled relationship even with the constant worry and societal pressure?

This hard-hitting French romance is one of the most mature storylines director and writer Xavier Dolan ('I Killed My Mother', 'Heartbeats') has ever worked on. It is set to be released on November 30th 2012 in the UK.

Director: Xavier Dolan

Continue: Laurence Anyways Trailer

The Man Who Loved Women Review


Very Good
Here's a title that says it all. Bertrand Morane (Charles Denner, upon whom the film is partly/sort of based) loves women, and he'll jeopardize life and limb just to get a look at a woman's shins. This semi-classic François Truffaut film is little more than a series of "relationships" of Bertrand's, as seen in flashback from his funeral and through the lyricism of his autobiography. The funny thing isn't just how desperate Bertrand is -- he's also rather homely and seemingly irresistable. The ending is classic: From his death bed, he reaches for the nurse, only to fall to his ultimate demise. It's a quirky film about, well, not quite love, and not quite relationships, but what passed for them in 1970s France.

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The Flower Of Evil Review


Weak
Cranking out a movie a year, Claude Chabrol is having a serious case of Woody Allen syndrome. The best thing Woody could do right now is take a break for a few years to recharge his batteries. As for Chabrol, he's been kicking around the same stately, even-handed, vaguely perverse thrillers for about 30 years (and none of his popular works ever got as good as his nasty 1969 psychodrama Le Boucher). He once again sets a moderately pleasing ambiance, in an upscale house in France's Bordeaux region, where a family keeps closely guarded secrets. As the secrets gradually come to light, one becomes aware that Chabrol is a mechanical storyteller more than an emotional one. One comes to doubt his economy of cinematic language as the last refuge of the detached and unemotional.

But The Flower of Evil remains pleasing to watch, mostly because of an attractive cast. Francois (Benoît Magimel) returns home to father Gérard (Bernard Le Coq) and stepmother Anne (Nathalie Baye). It's not long before he's set his eyes on stepsister Michèle (Mélanie Doutey), and they try to keep a lid on their boiling-over passions. They don't want skeletons coming out of the closet during Anne's mayoral campaign. But not everyone sees it that way: A telegram arrives with insidious content, and the family worries that more secrets will come out that will make their children's tête-à-tête seem minor in comparison. Enlisting their clever Aunt Line (a delightful Suzanne Flon), the children attempt to protect themselves and, if possible, cause trouble for the hateful, lustful, blandly disgusting Gérard.

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Nathalie Baye

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Nathalie Baye Movies

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Laurence Anyways Movie Review

Laurence Anyways Movie Review

After I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats, 23-year-old filmmaker Dolan gets even more ambitious with...

Laurence Anyways Trailer

Laurence Anyways Trailer

Laurence and his girlfriend Fred couldn't ask for a more special relationship. They spend as...

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